A 30 FOOT statue crafted by a Black Country sculptor has been unveiled at Dudley Zoo to highlight the plight of Madagascan lemurs.

The steel artwork, titled 'Leap of Faith', depicts a ring-tailed lemur leaping from one pole to another with a baby gripping its back.

It was crafted by Cradley Heath artist Luke Perry and took six months to complete.

The acclaimed sculptor spent time watching the the lemurs’ behaviours and movements at the zoo to capture their likeness.

The work was commissioned to educate zoo visitors about the ongoing threats to the endangered species – with 90 per cent of the population facing extinction.

Derek Grove, zoo director, said: "We have lots of conservation signage around the zoo site and have been keen supporters of Lemur Conservation Association, for two decades where we help fund primary school teachers in Madagascar, but we wanted another tool to help us highlight important issues.

“We noticed the metal animal statues on the zoo carpark are regularly used for photo opportunities by visitors and decided to try an amalgamation of both ideas.

“The statue makes a huge impact and certainly gets you to stop, look and think, with wording on the poles highlighting the threats lemurs are currently facing, including deforestation, hunting, logging and the pet trade.

“We have to have faith that we can stop these, because if we don’t take action now, these animals may not have a future and the animals themselves have to have faith that there will still be trees to jump to.”

The statue is so big that it had to be craned into position.

Luke Perry said: "Thank you to DZC for giving me the opportunity to do something a bit different. It’s been a challenge and it’s been the first time I’ve had to put wheels on a sculpture and nearly take a wall out just to get it out of the factory!

"But I’m so pleased with it and I’m very pleased people like it.”