Animal welfare proponents and wildlife photographers alike are calling Nikon out for what they see as the height of hypocrisy. According to The Independent, the fact that a company “synonymous with wildlife photography” simultaneously manufactures and markets rifle scopes to hunters — and in particular big game hunters — has the animal welfare community up in arms.
Focusing mainly on big game hunting, the article brings Nikon’s “Monarch African” (aka. The Monarch 3 1-4×20 German #4) forward as exhibit A. According to the product’s page, it’s a rifle scope “designed specifically for dangerous, big game hunting in Africa,” a scope that could mean “the difference between a successful hunt and a painful debacle.”
That in itself wouldn’t be as big of an issue if Nikon didn’t simultaneously describe itself as “at the heart of nature” in its latest catalog for photographers. Sporting pictures of polar bears and boasting a love of nature while selling a plethora of rifle scopes (164 to be exact) at the same time is, in award-winning wildlife photographer Stefano Unterthiner’s opinion, fundamentally wrong. Speaking with The Independent, he explains:
I don’t understand and can’t agree with their support for trophy hunting, which sends out entirely the wrong message to global photographers who love nature. Wildlife needs protecting now more than ever, and I urge the company to end its support for trophy hunting.
The article was published yesterday and Nikon UK has yet to respond to the accusations or The Independent’s questions. However, having recently changed the name of its “Nikon Hunting” website to “Nikon Sport Optics,” it’s altogether possible that the company may have seen this one coming.