WHEN most young people decide to go away for the summer they probably don’t think about spending it knee deep in lemur poop.

However, as part of study, Kara Moses from Alvechurch, has been investigating the droppings of black-and-white ruffed lemurs in Madagascar.

The researcher, currently at the University of Roehampton, has been leading a team in the Manombo forest.

Ms Moses said that the study suggests these animals may hold the key to the survival of this island’s unique rainforest environments.

“The lemurs here are swallowing a great diversity of seeds and then depositing them whole in their droppings,” she said.

“Some of these seeds are over 4cms long, and it’s likely that no other animals are capable of swallowing seeds this big. As a result the survival of the trees in question may be completely reliant on the black-and-white ruffed lemur.”

Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are one of 93 species of lemur but are declining rapidly.

Ms Moses added that the work highlights the intimate link between primates and their environment, and the delicate nature of their co-existence.