Irish actor Chris O'Dowd raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for animal welfare while working in a call centre by inventing endangered species to save.

The Bridesmaids star took a job cold-calling before he found fame, and his main duties included encouraging donations of cash to help protect the planet's wildlife.

Most targets would refuse to agree to contribute any money, so prankster O'Dowd began making up exotic-sounding animals such as a 'Tiger Swan' or 'Dolphinwhale' to baffle his listeners - and the money came pouring in.

He tells British GQ magazine, "More often than not, it was a bat in New Zealand or something. I'd tell people about them, and they'd be like, 'F**king shoot it. You want bullets? Is that what you want?'... (The Tiger Swan) made me the most money. I raised more than £300,000 on that day, just by myself. A swan with the stripes of a tiger. Very rare. Lives in Mali. People would say, 'I've never heard of it!' and I'd be like, 'Well, it's f**king rare! If they were everywhere, we'd be fine! I wouldn't have called!'

"The Dolphinwhale was the size of a whale, but it loved humans. Loved swimming with people, so would always get beached. Very sad."