Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Wild turkeys, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
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Turtles sharing stump in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Violet cort mushroom, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Vireo nest, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Female yellow-rumped warbler, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Turkey-tail fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Baby striped skunk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spicebush swallowtail butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Main pond, photo by Mary Ann Gurka
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Main pond, frozen, covered in snow and paw prints, 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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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:

We and the white-tailed deer who live at our Refuge urge you to call for an end to the deer slaughter in Texas


Protest Deer Hunting 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: www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/rehablst.htm.