Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Cottontail rabbit, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Pearl crescent butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Fowler's toad, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spindle-shape yellow coral fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bald eagle calling mate, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Katydid, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Indian pipe, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Northern water snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beavers, 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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An exciting opportunity for someone interested in protecting wildlife in New Jersey

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is seeking a residential onsite manager.* This is a rewarding and challenging position for a responsible and self-motivated individual who is interested in nature and wildlife and maintaining land as protected natural habitat. Preference will be for a person who is at least a vegetarian and who has practical experience with wildlife or academic training so that they are knowledgeable about wildlife in general. We will also consider someone without this experience, but who is motivated enough to learn about indigenous species so that they can be an asset to the Refuge's education and outreach efforts. The manager lives onsite in provided, free accommodations, including utilities.

If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please send the following by E-mail only, to Nedim Buyukmihci, president,

  1. Letter explaining why you would be the ideal candidate;
  2. an expanded résumé; and
  3. full contact information for at least three people who can critically vouch for your commitment to wildlife or non-human animals in general, abilities, reliability and honesty (at least one of the people should be your most recent or current employer, none can be a relative and your relationship with each should be made clear).

The full job description is available here:

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:

Urge Topeka Zoo to Release Their Elephants to a Sanctuary

Sign the petition urging the Topeka Zoo to send their elephants to a sanctuary.

New Jersey Residents: Help Keep Cruel Traps Out of Our State!

Read more on what you can do to end the use of inhumane traps in New Jersey.

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:

Our current manager is leaving due to unforeseen circumstances unrelated to the Refuge.