Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bullfrog at Muddy Bog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Brown thrasher in the snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black and white caterpillar, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Cricket frog calling, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern worm snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Four bald eagles in a tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Canada geese in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Baby skunk along trails, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spicebush swallowtail butterfly larva, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Slime mold and fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields and bogs. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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We have a new manager

We are pleased to announce that we have hired Michael Puleo as our onsite manager for the Refuge. You can see a bit more about him on our Personnel page.


Our Mission

Dragonfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
  1. To obtain and protect habitat in the New Jersey Pinelands area so that indigenous animals and plants can have an unexploited opportunity to live;
  2. To protect free-living (wild) animals from hunting, trapping, fishing and other consumptive activities by people;
  3. To provide a "living classroom" for the public to study nature and appreciate the importance of wildlife and habitat protection; and
  4. To work with individuals and communities to peacefully resolve conflicts with wildlife.


Support Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

We need your help!

Drawing of rat and mushrooms, original artwork by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder; click to enlarge

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is supported entirely by private donations from individuals who have visited us or read about the Refuge. The generosity of our supporters will allow us to continue to protect this special habitat and educate the public about its importance. Refuge expenses include local taxes, insurance premiums, and equipment maintenance.
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Visiting the Refuge

We encourage people to visit our wonderful haven for wildlife. To schedule a visit...


Take Action to Help Wildlife:

Sign Petition to Free Billy the Elephant


New Jersey Residents: Tell Gov Murphy to Keep His Promise to Stop Bear Hunt!

Sick or injured wildlife?

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is not involved in wildlife rehabilitation. Instead, please go to this link to find a licensed rehabilitator to help you: www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/rehablst.htm.