On a sunny Sunday in early March Nikolas Fricke invited our editor Sandra Djajadisastra and photographer Elina Gathof to visit his black-nosed sheep in their winter quarters. What the two of them learned? These animals are not a bit shy, quite the contrary.
Curious, a sheep nudges our photographer as if it is asking for a few strokes. "May I introduce: This is our main ram," says Nikolas Fricke, 37, "In winter the herd stays at the Isarauen in Munich, and every May Fricke brings the sheep to their summer home: a pasture in Pöcking at Lake Starnberg, where he grew up.
An excerpt from the interview:
It's striking how trusting your animals are. Usually sheep run away when you approach them. Yours, on the other hand, come running towards us.
Black-nosed sheep from the Valais were bred for this characteristic, in order to be able to control them better in the Swiss mountains, where they come from. I have three instruments to guide them: my voice, the feeding bucket and to walk towards and bring them in. The last of the options works worst. However, I really can do a lot with my voice. I never call them without a reason. They know when I call, something interesting happens, so they definitely come. There are breeds with a tremendously strong flight instinct that always seek the furthest possible distance from you. In my opinion, you do not have so much benefit in keeping them in comparison to the Valaisian black-nosed ones. You have the same work, they just don't thank you for it because they simply don't like you. I think my sheep like me a lot.
On your website it says that the black noses are "sheep for the heart". What do you mean with this statement?
My wife always scolds me about that slogan. She thinks it's flat. But it's true. They're good-natured, forgiving, quiet sheep. They've had me under their spell from the first moment I saw them.
Where did you discover them?
At a nativity play. Valaisian blacknoses are very peculiar, special beings, they radiate a sovereign calm. At the heyday of my doctorate, when I had to spend an insane amount of time sitting, I needed some compensation. Something that was good for my mind and allowed me enough exercise. In addition, our two children were increasingly demanding a pet. The most important thing for us was to keep the animal appropriate to its species. A cat in the apartment? No. A dog is too much trouble. A hamster dies. Birds in a cage? No way. This is a long list, and sheep are the best solution! (laughs)
We love the Fünfseenland in the south of Bavaria. That is why we collect the uniqueness of the region in beautiful pictures and stories once a year in our SeeMagazin. We meet interesting people who are enthusiastic and make their passion their profession. The motto of the 2020 issue: "People, missions, masterpieces" – because it is not only the nature, but also the people, who make the Fünfseenland special.