Camera maker Nikon has been accused of double standards for selling riflescopes for hunting animals, while promoting wildlife photography.

Animal welfare charity Viva! has called on consumers to boycott Nikon products and has launched a petition that has so far won support from more than 500 people.


Stefano Unterthiner, an award-winning wildlife photographer, told the charity: ‘I have used Nikon since I was a young boy, fascinated by nature and wildlife.

‘I always saw Nikon as a company close to nature but I was wrong.

‘I do not understand and cannot 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. I urge the company to end its support for trophy hunting.’

The charity’s campaign manager Justin Kerswell accused Nikon of ‘unforgiveable hypocrisy’.

He added: ‘I’m sure British wildlife lovers and photographers will be horrified to discover that Nikon produces equipment not only designed to take beautiful pictures of wild animals, but to help kill them too.’

At the time of writing, Nikon UK told Amateur Photographer that it was waiting for Nikon Europe and Nikon Japan to respond to media requests for comment.


The charity’s petition carries the emotive tagline, ‘Never A Nikon While They Make Blood Money from Hunting’.

Nikon says its Monarch riflescopes feature an optical system designed to ‘give shooters increased versatility and superlative performance with virtually any type of rifle, in any calibre and in any imaginable hunting situation’.

A riflescope called the Monarch African has sparked particular concern.

In an online store run by Nikon USA, the company says of the Monarch African (pictured below): ‘Africa has long been a continent of dreams and for hunters around the world. For those seeking their dangerous game adventure on the Dark Continent, Nikon has a new riflescope series that is more than ready for the hunt. With ultra wide field of view, four time (sic) magnification zoom and generous eye relief, the Monarch African gives you everything you need in a dangerous game riflescope.’

  • Neil

    Unless every negative poster here is vegetarian I think you all need to take a hard look at your own double standards. Nikon, like many other companies, produce rifle scopes. So what? Some shooting is actually carried out by your favourite pro animal charities. Pest control has protected a lot more rare species than shooting has ever created.

  • Les Sullivan

    Yet another example of irrational and emotional people who fail to think through the cause that they are trying to promote. Before jumping on the “boycott Nikon” band wagon, switch your brain on and think the problem through in full. If there is a rational case against trophy hunting, that is the case that is to be made. Do not confuse it with the manufacture of equipment. Cars kill people, let’s boycott Ford. No, people kill people and sometimes they do it by the use of a car.

  • Sacha

    The problem with the anti hunting mob is they are usually city dwellers, who do not understand how our Eco system really works they eat the mass produced meat that to be honest the animals slaughtered to provide this meat have not had as good and free a life than that of the hunted animal, Not only that they forget to look at the bigger picture,the human race have also breed in such a way that our numbers have swelled to such an extent, that we populate more and more of the globe and have taken a lot of habitat away from the natural world and caused the extinction of many many species than hunting ever will. And not to mention the fact that we are destroying the planet with our pollution. so are the hunters a real problem or is it the entire human race!? come on guys and girls start looking at the bigger picture!

    Our wildlife in the UK must be managed as the natural predators have all but been removed from our land, and yes before you bring that up it was through poorly managed hunting on our predecessors part. But now hunting is carried out in a much more responsible way, seasons have been introduced and the number of species are closely monitored to ensure the right balance is maintained, if numbers dwindle a ban on hunting certain species is implemented, and if the numbers swell a cull is introduced. The Deer population is a perfect example which is currently at a record level in our history and is causing huge problems not only for the species themselves but also for humans.

    If we are to blame anyone for the demise of wildlife it has to be the human race as a whole.

  • PMSL

    Only in the UK could this happen! Get real people. As others have said, is there going to be a boycott of all the other optics manufacturer as well?

  • Curt

    In the States, at least, hunters pay more to establish and support wildlife refuges, and continuing wildlife programs, than most all other “wildlife” organizations combined.

  • Ed Williamson

    If, through my use of a Nikon riflescope, I can guarantee an instant and clean kill when out pest controlling, then I see no problem … would the current brigade of bunny huggers prefer to see maimed and injured animals in the countryside ? As an afterthought, have any of the so-called animal activist/welfare groups thought about the consequences of the original release of mink in the UK … the same cute little furry animals that now continue to devastate water voles and many other native species. Please be real and get a life.

  • basilio

    And let’s boycott fuel companies, because they supply fuel for hunters and for aircrafts flying hunters to Africa. And computers, because hunters use them to plan their hunts. And GPS-s. And mobile phones. And electricity – definitely the most evil thing in the world – thousands of chickens a day get killed with electricity in poultry farms not saying about other animals!

    It looks like Viva guys just trying to make some money from Nikon rivals or just gain some cheap popularity. Too sad.

  • Jens

    I think there are two levels to the protest campaign against Nikon:
    1. animal rights activists who are against all killing of animals and haven’t got much time for the notion of ‘conservationism’ which involves the shooting of any wildlife. Their campaign against Nikon (& Zeiss) has been going for at least a year – see facebook & blogs.

    2. Users of Nikon Photo equipment who had to see their brand being used to promote ‘dangerous game’ hunting in the ‘dark continent’ of Africa. That smacks of exotism and big game hunting tourism – nothing to do with conservationism.

    And curiously enough, Nikon seems to have realised that they only shoot themselves in the foot with such insensitive advertising: as of 10 April, the ‘Monarch African’ is no longer visible on the US Nikon hunting website. The only ‘dangerous game’ riflescope now left in their product range is ‘German’, whatever the implications of that may be…

  • Steve

    Dear Justin.
    Thanks for advising us which animal rights charity we should avoid.
    Much appreciated.
    I won’t feel so bad about putting the phone down on them now.
    I think I’ll ask for a boycott of Clarkes Shoes, I trod on a beetle last week whilst wearing a pair of their shoes.

  • Dave

    I’ve seen some nonsense on the web, but this takes the proverbial biscuit!
    As many above me have so rightly pointed out, pretty much every camera and lens manufacturer has some sort of dealings in the shooting world in some way or another, and many give huge amounts of funding for all sorts of conservation projects around the globe.
    I have spent my entire life within the hunting/shooting/conservation world, so know first hand how important it is for wildlife.
    People need to look at the bigger picture and not be so narrow minded, of course they are entitled to their opinion, but they need to get their facts right first!
    Do they realize that here in the UK some of the best habitats for nature including National Parks and National Trust properties are only still here because of hunting and shooting?
    Without it most areas would now be farmland, and we all know how nature loves that sterile environment, don’t we?
    Mr Unterthiner has made his bed, now he has to lie in it, I’m sure he’s gone straight out and bought all Canon gear……not!

  • Lucy

    People seem to be missing the point. The Monarch African isn’t for shooting rabbits in the UK. It is “for those seeking their dangerous game adventure on the Dark Continent, Nikon has a new riflescope series that is more than ready for the hunt”
    Stop thinking we are trying to spoil all the fun you have blowing ‘vermin’ away in the UK. No-one should support the shooting of wildlife in Africa. Bear in mind that many of these trophy animals are put in cages and THEN shot. There isn’t any hunter-prey relationship, just tools wanting to kill for fun and to make themselves appear better endowed in the trouser department.
    “Boycotts and petitions will do nothing to protect wildlife” – sorry but you are completely wrong on that point.

  • BWheel

    Bunch of bunny huggers. Silly attitude, most optics company’s, as mentioned, produce all sorts of optic products. It makes sense, and makes products cheaper to manufacture all around. Go and boycott all these companies if you want to boycott one. Then when you bump into things in your small world without travel, due to not being able to see… will serve you right.
    Of course, I respect your right to stop using Nikon products, and will assist you in this endeavour by taking your product off your hands for a modest fee. Please inbox me!

  • BWheel

    Bunch of bunny huggers. Silly attitude, most optics company’s, as mentioned, produce all sorts of optic products. It makes sense, and makes products cheaper to manufacture all around. Go and boycott all these companies if you want to boycott one. Then when you bump into things in your small world without travel, due to not being able to see… will serve you right.
    Of course, I respect your right to stop using Nikon products, and will assist you in this endeavour by taking your product off your hands for a modest fee. Please inbox me!

  • BWheel

    Typical bunny hugger attitude. Nikon are not the only company out there that does these items as mentioned before. The fact they develop both means that a good product is made, and is beneficial for all people concerned.
    I do respect anyone that wants to stop using Nikon products though, and would be more than happy to look at taking any of these products off your hands for a modest service charge. Please inbox me directly!

  • Russell Parker

    That is one of the reasons why I use nikon cameras and lens. I do hunt both with camera and for meat. I see now problem.

  • Alan Ng

    Man has been hunting for far too long. We are running out of wild life to photograph much less to shoot. Nikon should not associate themselves
    with animal killers!

  • Martin

    Nikon USA needs a slap round the back of its collective head for employing imbecilic copywriters, but a boycott is ridiculous.



  • Nikon Rule

    haha, what a load of rubbish!

  • Mike

    Get real animal lovers. Nikon is not promoting any kind of illegal hunting or killing any endangered animals. They are simply filling a demand for a product that will be purchased by hunters. Even if your silly boycott stops Nikon from producing rifle scopes other manufacturers will make them. Boycotts and petitions will do nothing to protect wildlife. If you want to stop hunters from hunting go after them and their guides. I’m quite confident that if the hunting community got behind Nikon on this issue your measly 500 name petition would be an insignificant drop in the bucket. I love animals as much as you do but you’re not going to stop hunters from hunting and Nikon has been making optics for sportsmen as long as they’ve been making cameras and optics for you. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, use your photography skills to show people what wildlife is all about.

  • James Bennett

    What a lot of tosh Nikon have been making rifle scopes & Binoculars for years.Before that Military optics for use in WW2
    Also don’t forget that a lot of hunters &especially Big game hunters are conservationists anyway

  • Peter Mihalik

    Many optics manufacturers make binoculars and scopes and associated camera adapters for wildlife observation as well rifle scopes. Why complain about Nikon in particular?

  • jim dunnett

    I have known for years that Nikon makes telescopic sights for rifles I also live in the UK

  • Ex-user of Nikon products.

    No more Nikon for me.

  • Graeme Finlayson

    Very ill-conceived marketing by Nikon. I’m sure they risk losing a lot more photography business than they’ll ever gain by selling riflescopes.

  • Mark Gurney-Berrett

    So, are there going to be similar boycotts of Canon, Leica, Swarovski, Pentax and just about every other maker of optical equipment used by Wildlife photographers! Because they all make kit used by hunters, animal control officers, personnel involved in culling operation, snipers and other military operatives etc. Bloody stupid. Might as well not drive a Land Rover or Land Cruiser to take pics of animals because hunters use them too! Ridiculous.

  • Gareth

    As much as I love wildlife and taking photographs of the same subject I am also into shooting as well. In my opinion the person calling for the boycott of Nikon products is rather short sighted and not looking at the bigger picture (no puns intended), It seems from what they are saying that hunters are going out to deliberately murder animals of all kinds. That is not necessarily the case, yes there are animals that are killed for the wrong reasons, but then there are those that are killed for the better management of he countryside. Deer for example need to be controlled in a way so that only the strongest survive and sick or weak animals taken care of. Rabbits are a pest that need to be controlled as well, I shoot on land (with permission) where horses are kept and its the rabbit scratchings which can cause the horses to break a leg if they where to fall as a result. I would proudly use both of Nikon’s products.

  • Ste vincent

    Yep and whilst you are at it smash all you glasses that have Bausch and Lomb lenses in them too.

  • Alex

    I suspect that Nikon are unfortunate in that they are open about their manufacture of telescopic sights. Zeiss also make them and I wonder how many optics factories supply under different names.

  • Robert

    This article is horrible. Justin Kerswell how can you say one cannot be a hunter and a nature lover, conservationist and wildlife photographer? That is absurd. The majority of all scientific wildlife conservation comes from hunters and anglers. Like it or not.

    Nikon has been a leader in outdoor optics for a long time. Rangefinders, Binos, Scopes. Let me give you a few other names you may recognize.


    So please Justin Kerswell and sheep by all means boycott all of the companies listed as they take in “blood money”

    We all come from a hunting heritage. Go stuff you faces with McDonalds and processed foods killed by others. Sit there and judge those who are true to our roots and involvement in wildlife management, conservation and ethic means of take. The majority of hunters continue to do so responsibly and for the correct reasons.

    There are many other places then just the UK. Please spend some time with the wildlife you preach about. Donate to organizations that actually do something to stabilize sustainable wildlife populations all over the world through scientific wildlife research and management.

    I’m disappointed in you for posting this filth as an article and ignoring a large portion of your market. I won’t be returning to your pages and will suggest all hunters/anglers and outdoors to do the same.

  • Yvette

    Outrageous Nikon – stop producing killer lenses! Boycott the company now!

  • DaveG

    Just shows how narrow minded people are, just because they are making rifle scopes does not mean that they actively shooting animals. There is a very big distinction too between “Trophy Hunting” and wildlife management, of which the majority of the wildlife that you celebrate would not exist or be in such great numbers if it were not for management of the countryside and wildlife, be it through shooting (culling), or other methods.