Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
1/ 10
Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, co-founder, and beaver kits, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
2/ 10
Male bufflehead in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
3/ 10
Flying squirrels, photo by Al Francesconi
4/ 10
Gray catbird eating dogwood berries, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
5/ 10
Indian pipe, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
6/ 10
Miller pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
7/ 10
Otter, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
8/ 10
Red-spotted purple butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
9/ 10
Rusty blackbird eating berries, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
10/ 10
White-tailed deer in main pond, 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.
Read more


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.
Read more


Visiting the Refuge

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


Take Action to Help Wildlife:

Support End to Black Bear Hunting in New Jersey


Volunteers Needed for Hunting Season Patrolling

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.