Inspired to Help – She Took a Hike

Dr. Monica, saddened and frustrated by the daily flow of “bad news” during this pandemic was inspired to “take a hike” to help the zoo and aquarium animals affected by the lock down!

 The Inspiration

Two news articles recently inspired this animal-loving doctor to take action. The first was an amazing and heartwarming story about a 99-year old British veteran, Captain Tom Moore. Captain Tom , who had recently undergone surgery for a broken hip and wanted to do something to raise money for the National Health Service in England. He vowed to walk (pushing his walker) 100 laps in his garden before his 100th birthday. His hope was to raise 1,000 pounds. His story so inspired the world that to date he has raised over 30 million pounds!

The second article was in the LA Times focusing on the plight of zoos during the COVID-19Pandemic.

According to the article, it costs roughly $800,000 a year to feed the animals at the Oakland Zoo. At the San Diego Zoo and its sister facility, the San Diego Zoo Safari park, costs are closer to $200 million a year.   The majority of revenue to care for these animals is from Park Admission fees and sales within the parks. With the Stay At Home Order required to stem the COVID19 Pandemic, those revenue sources have dried up. Aquariums too, like the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, are also suffering due to closures.

Dr. Monica has personally donated money to the LA Zoo where she is also a member.

Still, she wanted to do more and Captain Tom gave her the idea and inspiration!

The Challenge

At 53 years of age, Dr. Monica is fit, but by far not an athlete. She had never done a marathon or even a 10K. She usually has an hour workout in the morning before work and plays golf on the weekends.
Dr. Monica pledged to walk from the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA. That is approximately 130 miles (209 km)!

The first stage of her trek started on May 9th and took her to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach – a distance of almost 30 miles (about 48 km)!

Her “urban trek for the animals” continued for 8 days walking from the aquarium in Long Beach to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA. She had taken a week’s vacation from work to make the journey and finished this incredible adventure (despite blisters and shin splints) on Saturday May 16th!

Click here to see the itinerary for the walk.
On the last stretch of the trek on Day 8, the KUSI news station of San Diego called Monica and interviewed her on their Good Morning San Diego show: See below

The Big Ask

Please help Dr. Monica support the Zoo and Aquarium Animals during this lock-down. If you would like to donate to help feed the animals and fish, please see the information below.

ANY donation, however small,  is greatly appreciated – If you donate just what you might have spent on your morning Mocha Latte, you can help feed a hungry animal.


Would you like to help?


Dr. Monica’s walk day by day:


Not only was Dr. Monica successful in achieving her goal of walking 129 miles (207.6km) across 3 southern California counties, but thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, nearly doubled our original fundraising goal of $7,500, raising $14,345 so far.
Since this was originally a plan to raise money for Southern California, the lion’s share of the donations went to the 3 places where Dr. Monica walked, the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!– each receiving $4,000.

However, MANY more zoos and aquariums throughout the world need money too. And many of these are in worse shape than our main beneficiary institutions! The additional funds raised have allowed us to send donations of $100 each to 21 other institutions.

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