Annick blogs: Herr Opitz
At 10.00 I am supposed to meet Herr Opitz, Ivo’s keeper in Berlin.
Although this is Germany, he is late. I find out that he is not just
Ivo’s keeper but responsible for many other parts of the zoo. And very
Opitz has got a somewhat round face, friendly eyes and an interest in
people. I wonder if he is a friendly as he appears…

While we have a talk on a zoo bench, Opitz is being watched. Watched by
the gorillas that peek over the fence from their hill. And watched by
the zoo visitors. They know Opitz from tv. An elderly lady with a
shopping trolley approaches us.
“ Ivo is in his ditch and he won’t come up. Can’t you make him come
I surpised by the request. The lady explains that she is a sketch artist.
And that she has been on German tv a lot. Her house is filled with
drawings of the gorillas.
I am even more surprised that Opitz grants the wishes. He gets up, leans
over the fence and says:
“ Come on, Ivo! Come up here!”
Slowly Ivo arrises from his ditch. In one hand his cloth, just like he
carried around in Amsterdam. I see how he flexes his muscles and how he
walks his macho walk. Opitz says that Ivo does his macho strutt for him.
Because the are colleagues and Ivo respects his leadership.

Opitz lives at the zoo himself. His appartment is just above the gorilla
exhibit. At night he always pops round the gorillas for a little chat.
And unlike the other apes, gorillas really listen, according to opitz.
(mental note: this would be an interesting scene for my film).

June 2006