Mountain lions are special for many reasons, but the role they play in the health of their ecosystems is one of the most significant. They are high up on the food chain, but their role goes beyond controlling the local deer population. They are what’s known as an umbrella species, a species that is selected for making conservation-related decisions. Due to their solitary nature and territorial range, their survival relies on the preservation of large amounts of habitat. Preserving enough wilderness for mountain lions to thrive directly benefits other species in the area that share that habitat. When mountain lions are protected, other species are protected too.