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Ecotourism's Impact

Danny Karp's internship took him to Peru, where he studied the response of wild birds to recorded tourist vocalizations. Danny hypothesized that tourist noise creates stress in birds and makes observation more difficult. He suggested that reducing noise volume would be mutually beneficial, as tourists would see more wildlife and wildlife would experience less stress. Danny traveled to an ecotourism lodge with the help of Stanford’s Tambopata Research Opportunity Program. His research showed that noise disrupts Hoatzins, a charismatic tropical bird species, and impedes their ability to habituate to human presence. Danny later returned to Peru to conduct similar research in order to test the potential for acclimation to tourist noise over a longer period of time. The results of his research culminated in an honor’s thesis, which suggested that noise control is a viable method for reducing ecotourism’s impacts. As a doctoral student at Stanford, Danny will continue his research in conservation biology.