Observing Wildlife in Tropical Forests

Observing Wildlife in a Tropical Forest began as an ethnographic investigation about the impact of the media of mass communication on tourists’ expectations regarding wildlife observation on Barro Colorado Island, a biological reserve in Panama. The fieldwork, which took place in 2007, involved participant observation and surveys with an opportunity sample of 130 tourists who visited Barro Colorado as part of the Visitors Programme offered by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the custodian of the Barro Colorado Nature Monument.

A follow-up investigation, begun in 2008, widened the scope of the research to consider at once more general aspects of wildlife observation amongst tourists visiting tropical forests, and to develop a genealogical account of tourism and transmediation on Barro Colorado Island. Both aspects will be presented in Observing Wildlife in a Tropical Forest, the first volume of which will be appear in December 2018.

Dates: 2007 – 2011, 2017

Supported by: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

Key Publications

Observing Wildlife in Tropical Forests

Volume 1: A Geosemeiotic Approach

Volume 2: Tourism and Transmediation on Barro Colorado Island

A Memory of Nature: Ecotourism on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island’ (Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 2010, Vol. 19 No. 3, 237-259).


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