Expecto Patronum!

Graphic shows "Vanishing Half-Marathon" text with photo of vanishing rhino in mist.

What do you get when you cross Harry Potter fans with a wildlife conservation non-profit and a charitable cause? “The Vanishing Half-Marathon” by the Potterhead Running Club (PHRC)! The Harry Potter-inspired running program is “dedicated to harnessing the power of fandom to inspire communities of fans to be more physically active while raising funds for deserving charities.”

Vanishing Half-Marathon

From May 18 to June 16, 2019, the club invites you to do #somuchgood by participating in its Vanishing Half-Marathon, a virtual charitable race that participants run at their place and at their pace. The fun run’s theme draws from the pair of Vanishing Cabinets that wizards and witches use to secretly transport themselves from one location to another. All runners receive Harry Potter-themed medals. Proceeds support Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS)—a wildlife conservation non-profit that uses technology to protect vanishing species in protected habitat across Africa, Southeast Asia, and other locations. Prior charity partners for PHRC events range from Music & Memory, a non-profit that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, to Project Purple, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer and supporting patients and families affected by the disease.

“Our members want to make a difference in the world,” said Barbara Gibbons, executive director of Random Tuesday, Inc., the non-profit organization behind these Fanthropy (fandom philanthropy) running clubs. “Running for fun while contributing to different charities is a wonderful way to make a positive impact. We have a responsibility to prevent animals and ecosystems from vanishing from our world and are pleased that Wildlife Protection Solutions is our Vanishing Half-Marathon recipient.”

Can you spy the green apple? The Potterhead Running Club offers TWO versions of the finisher’s medal. Your registration will include ONE VERSION of the incredible 3″ medal with doors that open to reveal something inside: EITHER an apple or a bird!

Anti-poaching Actions

In the book Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter uses the powerful yet difficult “Expecto Patronum” charm to summon the white stag, a guardian spirit for dispelling darkness—in this case, dementors. Wildlife Protection Solutions is also involved in the fight against dementors—in this case, poachers and other intruders engaged in illegal wildlife activity. WPS hidden cameras work with specialized equipment and software to detect threats in real-time to prevent wildlife crimes before they occur. Though not the stuff of wizarding spells, the technology typically works like a charm. To date WPS cameras have captured more than 200 poachers in action. The Sumatran rhino, Indonesian orangutan, African elephant, African cheetah, and “Unicorn of the Forbidden Forest” are among the many species that benefit from WPS protection.

WPS cameras reveal two trespassers on a wildlife reserve in South Africa.

Volunteer Guardians

You can also help WPS catch poachers by volunteering to monitor wpsWatch, an app that shows on-the-ground footage of wildlife sensitive locations. The technology is our first pass at catching poachers. People like you are our second. Volunteers report suspicious activity to WPS staff, who then inform park management and rangers. Like running in PHRC’s virtual runs, monitoring can be done “at your place and at your pace.” Endangered animals need “patronum” guardians like you to help protect them from poachers. Contact [email protected] for details.

Rhinos are endangered animals that need increased protection. Poachers kill rhinos for their horns, which are illegally sold on the black market.

Register to Run

By registering to run the Vanishing Half-Marathon, you do #somuchgood for wildlife! And if you are in the Denver area on June 22, you can double the good by registering with Running Wild, another charitable fun run raising donations on behalf of African wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Wildlife Protection Solutions is among the beneficiaries. Participation also counts toward the Vanishing Half-Marathon, so Huffle Puffin your way to the finish line of this and any other run of your choice. Who knows … you may Slytherin to first place. Let’s do what we can to help prevent more endangered species from vanishing!

These cool Vanishing Half-Marathon event shirts are available in multiple fabrics and styles, from tee to tank to hoodie. All proceeds support Wildlife Protection Solutions! You can get your shirt here: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/vanishing-half.

Article by Julie West, Communications Specialist, Wildlife Protection Solutions