He's short, hairy, toothless, bug-eyed and has a 16-inch tongue. But that won't dampen the enthusiastic welcome awaiting Timmy the tamandua when he visits Children's Hospital of New Mexico at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday!

While he's charming young patients, Timmy, a lesser anteater, will be a long way from his South American savanna home. But he'll be in good hands. Timmy is a ward of SeaWorld San Antonio, which is sponsoring his visit with Southwest Airlines as part of their "2001: An Air And Sea Odyssey" goodwill tour.

The tour takes Timmy, his friends and handlers to 30 cities in the Southwest and Midwest during a 14-week period. They'll be visiting patients in children's hospitals, families at Ronald McDonald Houses, students at Southwest Airlines pilot schools, nursing home residents, etc. It's all intended to promote SeaWorld San Antonio's 2001 season and Southwest, SeaWorld's preferred airline.

Mary O'Hara, CHNM's team leader, notes that Timmy's visit coincides with Slipper Day, one of five days of special, fun activities comprising Children and Healthcare Week, March 19-23. Children's Hospital employees have been asked to wear their favorite slippers to work that day, and "Timmy should join in the fun," O'Hara said, by wearing some slippers himself.

SeaWorld handlers said the tamandua was unavailable for comment.

Timmy's visit to CHNM will be a chance to meet an exotic creature and a wonderful photo opportunity.
Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322