It can be difficult to determine the exact number of lemurs left in the world, as new species are continuously discovered. However, most species are considered endangered and critically endangered and one species is near extinction.
Lemurs are among the most endangered species of mammals in the world, according to a review conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission in 2012. One species, the northern sportive lemur, is so close to extinction that only 18 individuals remain in the wild. Out of the 103 known species of lemur in the world, 93 face some level of threat. Of these 93 threatened species, 19 are listed as "Vulnerable," 52 are classified as "Endangered" and 23 are described as "Critically Endangered," which means that they are especially vulnerable to extinction. Only three species are not considered endangered.
In 2005, 41 species of lemur were considered "Vulnerable," "Endangered" or "Critically Endangered." The sharp increase in the 2012 numbers is due to two important factors: increased threat levels and the discovery of several new species of lemur.
The largest threat to lemurs is habitat destruction. Their habitat is limited to the island of Madagascar. The rainforests where they live are threatened by illegal logging, illegal mining and political problems. Lemurs also face threats from poachers.
Although many species face major threats, some species have experienced recovery. For example, the greater bamboo lemur population increased from 100 individuals to 500 individuals.