Of the 633 primate species on the planet, 54 percent are classified as at least threatened by extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The animals on the top 25 list are in the most dire straits. For example, the northern sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis), which stands on its back legs like a boxer when threatened, has only 19 individuals living in the wild. In fact, 91 percent of Madagascar’s 103 lemur species and subspecies are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN.
The pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus) was thought to be extinct until 2000, when one stumbled into a rat trap in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. In 2008, researchers confirmed the continued existence of the species by trapping three with nets and observing a fourth.
Primates are a boon for Eco-tourism as well as being crucial to tropical forest ecosystems and serve as seed dispersers which helps to maintain forest diversity.
There is some good news though. The fact that no primate species went extinct in the 20th century, nor have any been declared extinct in the 21st century. Two species have been taken off the list due to recovery: India’s lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) and Madagascar’s greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus).