The author and supporters of this and future expeditions, along with numerous canid researchers and experts, consider the confirmation of the HWD, alive and thriving in its home range and ecosystem, to be one of the most important scientific breakthrough discoveries in recent years.
In the past, research expeditions were hindered by the sheer vastness and austerity of the island along with political change. With the 2016 expedition having successfully confirmed HWDs in the area around the periphery and slopes of Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid), to include the Grasberg Gold Mine vicinity, ongoing research at the mine is warranted and sustainable given the existing infrastructure support made available by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), an affiliate of US based Grasberg Mine owner, Freeport-McMoRan Corporation. PTFI’s commitment to sustain and protect the adjacent ecosystem through their long term, ISO 17025 Compliant Environmental Monitoring Program has created an ideal research environment in which to attract, hold and study the HWD while providing a stable sustenance resource platform for researchers. It appears that the isolated, remote, high altitude location in conjunction with the extensive environmental safeguards and security measures set in place by PTFI in the vicinity of the mine and surrounding ecosystem have inadvertently created a sanctuary in which the HWD can thrive. PTFI was deeply gratified to learn that their dedication to proactive environmental stewardship had created a safe haven for New Guinea’s only wild dog and apex predator, along with those who would study it, and has generously committed logistical support and funding to facilitate ongoing or even full time research long into the future. Environmental representatives from PTFI will continue to work with researchers to develop additional infrastructure and management plans to sustain and improve this invaluable natural resource.