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Shooting wildlife: Nikon takes the heat for selling rifle scopes

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Shooting wildlife: Nikon takes the heat for selling rifle scopes

One of the most important leaders of the photographic industry, Nikon, started a controversial marketing campaign for its latest rifle scopes, from the Monarch product line.

While presenting itself as a supporter of wildlife photography, Nikon faces strong criticism these days for their description of a new line of rifle scopes on a website called Nikon Hunting, recently renamed Nikon Sport Optics.

Nikon Monarch 3 Matte Nikoplex riflescope (2.5-10x50)
New MONARCH 3 2.5-10×50 Matte Nikoplex rifle scope by Nikon

Is Nikon still at the heart of nature?

Nikon has been selling sports optic equipment for many years now, but its marketing campaign wording for the new Monarch rifle scopes line has attracted some bad PR for them. Even though the photos describing hunters looking for trophies “on the dark continent” (Africa) have disappeared from the site, the rifle scopes are still for sale. The original marketing statements from Nikon presented the new Monarch rifle scopes as “the proven choice for dangerous big game hunting”.

Over the shoulder seal by John Moncrieff
Over the shoulder seal, photograph taken with a Nikon D300, in Troswick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. Credits: John Moncrieff

Many photography enthusiasts who use Nikon cameras ask themselves how the company can be “at the heart of nature” while providing equipment for killing animals?

Nikon is a giant company that needs to diversify its products so that it continues to be among the most important leaders of the photographic industry. And of course, they do not kill the wild animals themselves. But isn’t selling the necessary equipment for doing so a way of supporting the hunting game? Aren’t they sending a definite message when they promote “a technology every hunter can appreciate”?

Trophy hunting: supporters and opponents

For wild life preservers and activists, trophy hunting is a hot issue. High class westerners pay good money to participate in this kind of amusement. Over the last 50 years, trophy hunting was one of the major factors in the diminishment of the lion population in Africa, for instance.

Some say that hunting and protecting the species are not as contradicting as they may sound. There are hunters who make efforts to preserve the wildlife. And maybe Nikon is addressing these exact responsible hunters.

But the question still remains: will Nikon continue to expand its technology and constituency? Or will it stay loyal to the ones who believe that wildlife photos should inspire the public to protect the few remaining wild lands?

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Shooting wildlife: Nikon takes the heat for selling rifle scopes