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What Are the 10 Most Common Primates in the World?

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A cropped chart ranking the 10 most common primates by population.

What Are the 10 Most Common Primates in the World?

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The word ‘primate’ traces its roots back to the Latin word ‘primas,’ meaning ‘of first rank’ or the highest order in the animal kingdom. This classification intuitively reflects humans’ fascination with the many species who are our closest cousins.

In this graphic, we visualize the top 10 species of primates, ranked by their estimated global population. This data comes from WorldAtlas, and was last updated in 2017.

Given the difficult nature of tracking wild animals, these numbers should be treated as approximations rather than exact figures.

ℹ️ This list does not include Humans, who would be the most populous primate by far.

Ranked: Top 10 Primates, by Population

At the top of the list, there are more than 300,000 Müller’s Bornean Gibbons in the world, found on the island of Borneo in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The larger gibbon family consists of around 20 species of small apes found swinging through Southeast Asian rainforests. These acrobatic primates are known for their loud calls, impressive agility, and monogamous family structures.

Despite their ape status, they differ from great apes by being smaller and lacking nests.

RankMonkeyRegion of OriginEstimated Population
(as of 2017)
1Muller's Bornean
Gibbon
🇮🇩 Indonesia312,500
2Common
Chimpanzee
🌍 Sub-Saharan Africa236,200
3Gelada🇪🇹 Ethiopia200,000
4Western
Gorilla
🌍 Western Africa175,000
5Bornean
Orangutan
🇮🇩 Indonesia /
🇲🇾 Malaysia
57,000
6Mentawai
Langur
🇮🇩 Indonesia36,000
7Bonobo🇨🇩 DRC39,750
8Kloss's Gibbon🇮🇩 Indonesia35,000
9Red-eared
Guenon
🌍 West & Central
Africa
20,000
10Nilgiri Langur🇮🇳 India20,000

Ranked second, the Common Chimpanzee can be found in the savannas and forests of sub-Saharan Africa. A subspecies—the Eastern Chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park—were the primary focus of noted biologist Jane Goodall’s pioneering research in the 1960s.

Despite their apparent numbers, chimpanzees are now classified as an endangered species by the UN, their survival threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and disease.

All the way across, in Ethiopia, the Gelada species is the third most populous primate on the planet. Their short, stump fingers make them adept rock climbers—useful for navigating the Semien mountains they call home.

At fourth place, the Western Gorilla, also found in Africa, is the last primate species with a population above 100,000. The Western Gorillas are a little smaller than their Eastern counterparts, who are the largest living primates.

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