Nikon, the highly-respected Japanese camera manufacturer, came under fire today after The Independent reported that the company is manufacturing sights for rifles used for hunting in Africa and the US.
The article uses the company’s Monarch 3 1-4×20 German #4 scope as the main example. Nicknamed the ‘Monarch African,’ the £170 scope is described on its product page as ‘designed specifically for dangerous, big game hunting in Africa.’ In the marketing literature, Nikon notes that ‘Africa has long been a continent of dreams for hunters around the world’ and that the Monarch African is “for those seeking their dangerous game adventure on the dark continent.”
It isn’t hard to realise why Nikon is in this market. Scopes and sights are the obvious and perfect alternative products to which the company would apply the technology they have already developed for their cameras, in fact Nikon actually has a range of over 160 different rifle scopes. However, what has caused such controversy is the fact that until now, Nikon has associated itself as synonymous with wildlife photography. In their latest amateur and professional photographer catalogue, the company refers to themselves as ‘at the heart of nature.’ Adjacent to an image of two polar bears, it reads ‘Nature is full of moments of timeless beauty, to be captured before they are gone forever.’
Speaking in The Independent, award-winning wildlife photographer Stefano Unterthiner said ‘I don’t understand and can’t agree with their support for trophy hunting…Wildlife needs protecting now more than ever, and I urge the company to end its support for trophy hunting.’
Nikon has so far failed to respond to The Independent’s questions, however after having recently renamed their Nikon Hunting website ‘Nikon Sport Optics’, its likely they saw this issue coming.