Shanghai Santa Swims with the Fish

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A Santa with a message was at one Shanghai aquarium over the weekend. But for this jolly old saint Nick, it wasn't about gift giving. Here's more.

A red and white clad Santa Claus swam with fish at the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium on Sunday. It's part of an effort to promote the need to protect the ocean environment and the necessity of curbing China's growing shark-fin trade.

The swimming Santa, who's an aquarium employee, donned his special Santa diving suit to feed the fish and take a dip with his finned friends.

Many visitors were inspired to do more to help China's endangered ocean species.

[Zhang Manna, Aquarium Visitor]:
"I think this is a great idea, and it's something we all should do. I just saw the shark photo exhibit and I was so deeply moved, as it firmly showed that we shouldn't eat shark fin. We should start from ourselves... our every little action can help."

The swimming Santa his stunt would open visitors' eyes to the importance of ocean wild life protection.

[Zhou Zhanhong, Swimming Santa]:
"We have a lot of different species living in our aquarium. Some of them are specially protected and others are rare or endangered species. We are taking this opportunity to let more visitors and guests care for and protect them."

He also said he wanted to bring awareness to shark finning - a widespread practice in China where fishermen cut off a shark's fin before tossing it back into the ocean.

The popularity of shark fin soup in China has caused a great demand for shark fins.

However, it has also caused a sharp decline in shark numbers, and about 20 percent of all shark species are now endangered.

Though this issue is not one that can be solved overnight, the swimming Santa hopes to make an impact on his onlookers and pass on his message at the same time, so that everyone, humans and fish alike, can celebrate a happy, safe Christmas.

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