According to research carried out by scientists as part of Wyoming's Teton Cougar Project, the existence of an aggressive competitor, such as wolves, on the landscape adversely affects local mountain lion populations.
The eleven-year study, published in the Journal of Zoology in late May, found that mountain lions, especially females, established their core territories as far from wolves as possible and will go out of their way to avoid the canines.
According to the Project's team leader Mark Elbroch, "Because wolves select top-tier territories with the most available prey, subordinate mountain lions are being pushed away from the most productive parts of the landscape. There is a reduction in habitat in the sense that they are prioritizing habitat differently."
The study's findings also state that "Spatial displacement between wolves and cougars has been noted in several other studies. This, no doubt, limits the availability of quality habitat in the Southern Yellowstone Ecosystem, which has implications for juvenile cougar survival, juvenile dispersal success and overall cougar population dynamics."