So a naked mole rat walks into a bar… Zoo to host comedy night

December 13, 2012 - 11:28am

Evening of entertainment to support African wild dog conservation

There's nothing funny about extinction, which is why the Portland chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers is hosting the Oregon Zoo's first comedy night Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Local comedians Todd Armstrong and Scoot Herring will headline the fundraiser, which will directly support the conservation of endangered African wild dogs.

Also known as painted dogs, these pack-hunting canines are among the most efficient predators in Africa, bringing down more prey per hunt than lions or cheetahs. They're also extremely sensitive to habitat fragmentation, which brings them into frequent contact with humans and domestic animals. Conflict with livestock and game farmers, accidental deaths by snares and road accidents, and infectious disease all contribute to the drastic population decline of wild dogs, which are currently listed as endangered.

"We have four African wild dog ambassadors here at the Oregon Zoo – Wally, Widdle, Wooster and Topaz," said Oregon Zoo wild dog keeper Beth Carroll-Vasquez. "We hope to reverse the fortunes of their wild counterparts with a great night of entertainment. The proceeds are going to an organization that's had a proven impact on the species' survival."

The Oregon Zoo's comedy night will benefit Zimbabwe-based Painted Dog Conservation, which operates a wild dog rehabilitation center, reintroduction and relocation programs, and a children's conservation camp.

"Most of our fundraising efforts are directed toward the bushcamp for children," Carroll-Vasquez said. "It's important to bring awareness to the youngest generation of Zimbabweans about wild dogs and dispel some of the myths that cause people to persecute these predators. Wild dog numbers are so low that if drastic measures aren't taken soon they'll likely go extinct."

Oregon Zoo comedy night - hosted by Daria from 105.1 The Buzz - will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Cascade Ballroom and will include hors d'oeuvres and adult refreshments, a silent auction, live auction and performances by comedians Todd Armstrong and Scoot Herring.

Todd Armstrong produces a theater showcase entitled "Honest Comedy with..." which features the Nation's Best Standup. In addition to touring, he performs at Portland's Funniest Person, Bridgetown Comedy Festival and the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival in New York. He also now represents Portland for Comedy Central's "Comic to Watch" showcase.

Scoot Herring is the host of podcasts "Rippletron Radio" and "Press Scoot To Continue" and runs a stand up showcase at Hawthorne Hideaway on the second to last Thursday of every month.

The AAZK is a nonprofit, volunteer organization made up of professional zoo keepers and other interested persons dedicated to professional animal care and conservation.