Promotion of nature conservation

ZEISS actively promotes the conservation of flora and fauna. The binoculars and spotting scopes from ZEISS allow people to get closer to nature and already have an excellent reputation among nature lovers around the globe. ZEISS products for observing nature allow people to experience the animal kingdom up close. It is therefore in the company's interest to campaign on behalf of the conservation of flora and fauna.

ZEISS forms unique collaborations with professional groups to support many nature conservation and educational programs that bring children and adults into close contact with nature. ZEISS also funds research programs aimed at protecting endangered animals.

Conservation Programs

Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. (NABU, Germany)

NABU, the German nature conservation association of BirdLife International, aims to get people interested in nature conservation through collective action. The protection of birds and endangered animal species is one of NABU’s central activities. ZEISS is a long-standing supporter of the association and is also a partner of the NABU projects “Hour of the garden birds” and “Hour of the winter birds.” Nature enthusiasts across Germany are urged to observe birds for a set period of time, either in their garden or from their balcony, and notify NABU of their findings. The more information NABU has about the bird populations in cities, towns, gardens and parks, the better it can fight to protect the birds. For years, ZEISS has also been supporting selected NABU centers in Federsee, in Hamburg and in the Wollmatinger Ried conservation area through donations.

Carl Zeiss Birding Station

Additionally, the Carl Zeiss Birding Station is located in the Wedeler Marshlands, approximately 15 kilometers west of Hamburg. The nature reserve around the birding station offers valuable ecologically-rich habitats to birds and is leased by the NABU Hamburg. A full-time employee and several volunteers inform the visitors about the natural wonders located in the reserve, lend binoculars to visitors and inspire visitors during numerous tours of the nature reserve.

Black Eagle Monitoring Project (South Africa)

In 1992, volunteer employees created the Black Eagle Monitoring Project to observe this bird species in South Africa. Interested visitors can put questions about the eagles to the volunteer employees in the garden. ZEISS in South Africa donated several spotting scopes and binoculars to this project. The ZEISS products provide visitors with a significantly more detailed look at the eagles than was previously possible with the other equipment, thereby increasing their interest in the birds.

Hessische Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz e.V. (HGON, Germany)

HGON is a regional organization of the Federation of German Avifaunists (DAA). HGON collects scientific data. It also offers different bird tours to familiarize people with bird conservation. They focus on the preservation of and data collection on the bird populations. ZEISS has been supporting their work for several years with cash donations.

Champions of the Flyway (Israel)

Champions of the Flyway (Israel)

Each year, participants from several countries head out at midnight in southern Israel to gather information on as many bird species as possible in just 24 hours. Through the Champions of the Flyway campaign, the ornithologists aim to draw international visitors’ attention to the illegal capture of migratory birds and collect donations for a BirdLife project aimed at protecting them. ZEISS makes an annual donation to the project.

The ZEISS-sponsored team from Finland – the ZEISS Arctic Redpolls – won this year's Champions of the Flyway competition. ZEISS binoculars and spotting scopes supported the teams and helped them succeed; in total, they spied 174 bird species.
16 international teams took part in the competition, which took place after the famous Eilat Birds Festival at the end of March and during the spring migration.
“Every year millions of migratory birds are hunted, captured and killed illegally on their way to or from their breeding grounds. By sponsoring Champions of the Flyway, ZEISS is helping to protect endangered species,” explains Petra Kregelius-Schmidt, a birding expert from Sports Optics.

Additionally, ZEISS annually supports teams participating in the birding competition, which are starting fundraising activities prior to the event.

Sea Bird Conservation (South Africa)

The South African association for the protection of birds, BirdLife South Africa, examines the impact of fishing on sea birds. Through this work they have helped the major fleets in South Africa to reduce their negative impact on seabirds by up to 90%. A small team of volunteer employees and researchers records seabird distribution patterns on a research cruise through the Antarctic pack ice. ZEISS supports this long-term study of the spatial distribution of bird species by donating binoculars.

Binoculars and spotting scopes for Swiss foundation Reusstal

In fiscal year 2013/14, ZEISS supported the Reusstal foundation by donating binoculars and spotting scopes for the day-to-day work of the Monitoring and Information group. In addition, ZEISS products are available for those taking part in excursions and guided visits. The Reusstal foundation was established in 1962 and is headquartered in Rottenschwil, Switzerland. It is dedicated to the protection of this unique landscape and to the preservation of its biodiversity.

Sponsor of the 2016 Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour

The ZEISS Sports Optics strategic business unit was the primary sponsor of the 2016 Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour. It comprises different teams from a total of ten birdwatchers, who are guided through the nature of Honduras using travel books and local guides. The aim is to raise awareness for the threats facing the birds and their habitats.


Education and Research Collaborations

BirdLife International

BirdLife International is an international partnership of national bird conservation groups with a total of 13 million members. ZEISS is the official sponsor of the scientific work for BirdLife’s Red List, which comprises information on all endangered bird species and the level of the threat to them. The information is provided to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and included in their Red List of endangered plant and animal species. The findings form the basis for the different conservation activities.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology (USA)

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York is the most important scientific institution in the world concerning ornithology. ZEISS supports the work of the lab and has been the main sponsor of the eBird monitoring system since 2014. The real-time platform established in 2002 has revolutionized birdwatching and constitutes a rich source of data for the spatial and temporal distribution of the bird populations. “Conserving birds requires an understanding of what happens across their entire lives,” says eBird leader Chris Wood. “ZEISS’s contributions are helping eBird build a birding community throughout the Americas that is committed to helping build this understanding.” In addition, every month eBird presents the “ZEISS eBirder of the Month” with a pair of ZEISS binoculars.

Young Birders Program (USA)

ZEISS supports various programs and events for young birders in the USA. The Young Birders Network created the Young Birders Clubs in different US states: a program for young ornithologists who are led and supported by more experienced ones. In 2015 and 2016, ZEISS was the main sponsor of the Young Birders Weekend run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; it took place in July in Ithaca, New York. The event was intended for young people who are very enthusiastic about birdwatching and are interested in pursuing a career in ornithology. ZEISS donated binoculars that the lab awarded for various projects. Different Young Birders Clubs also received support in the form of cash donations.

Natural Education Centre (Germany)

ZEISS is an optic partner for the initiative Lernort Natur, a project of the German Hunting Association (DJV). This initiative promotes an education focused on nature and the environment for teachers and students alike. DJV claims that children will only be active in nature conservation once they personally experience the sheer variety of nature’s fascinating aspects. Lernort Natur’s most successful learning aid is a nature “tool box” with tools like a magnifying glass, various field guides and a pair of binoculars. With the support of ZEISS, Lernort Natur handed out more than 2,000 of these highly educational tool boxes. ZEISS promotes the initiative with extremely low-priced binoculars.


Prizes and awards

ZEISS sponsors Rhino Conservation Awards ceremony held in South Africa

The South African black rhinoceros is threatened with extinction. Conservationists are working tirelessly in the South African grasslands to save these animals, pushing their limits as they do.
To raise awareness about the dedication of these conservationists and environmental organizations, the Rhino Conservation Awards were presented in South Africa in July. ZEISS has been sponsoring the awards since 2015.

ZEISS Wildlife Conservation Awards (India)

More than 10 years ago, ZEISS in India established the ZEISS Wildlife Conservation Award. Every year, exceptional nature conservationists in the country are honored with the award. In 2015, Imran Siddiqui won the award for his work in designing and implementing progressive observation reports on rare tigers.