Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Nikon: A Friend of Wildlife?

For many years Nikon equipment has been widely used by wildlife photographers and the company has been very keen to publicise this association and to portray itself as being 'at the heart of nature' (to use their own phrase).

Not surprisingly, some have therefore been surprised to discover that Nikon also produces a wide range of rifle sights including one, entitled 'the Monarch African', designed specifically for killing large game. To borrow from the Nikon marketing literature, this rifle sight is 'engineered for safari' and aimed at 'those seeking their dangerous game adventure on the dark continent' and 'is the proven choice for dangerous big game hunting'. They also claim that 'Africa has long been a continent of dreams for hunters around the world'. In other words this sight is specifically for trophy hunting - that despicable pursuit whereby rich hunters, typically from the US or Europe, 'bravely' kill lions and other large African species from several hundred yards away using a high powered rifle. We've no doubt all seen the sickening photographs of the hunter standing next to their victim while grinning and looking proud of their achievement.

While large multinationals such as Nikon inevitably prioritise global market share and profitability ahead of ethical considerations, I am still a little surprised that a company so synonymous with capturing the beauty of wildlife is also happy to be associated with those that seek to destroy it for pleasure. I also wonder how many highly principled wildlife photographers (and there are a few) were aware of this darker side of Nikon's product line. Stefano Unterthiner has publicly criticised Nikon and urged them to end their support of trophy hunting. I hope others are prepared to do likewise.


  1. Hi Matt, good article :)

    The Nikon Boycott awareness campaign is growing steadily over on facebook It's not only Nikon that does the hypocritical 'let's celebrate wildlife/let's kill wildlife ' routine. Leica, Ricoh, Pentax, Vanguard and Zeiss are also more than happy to let greed overrule ethical and environmental concerns.

    Thanks for spreading the word.

    Regards, NiK

  2. thanks and you're quite right about Nikon not being the only company to be implicated in this way.