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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News from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

Current electronic newsletter Current print version newsletter Archives

January 2019

Safe white-tailed deer at Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

22nd: Call for an end to the deer slaughter in Texas

Land's End, a residential community in East Texas, has started to trap wild deer in nets to be taken away and slaughtered. Deer are highly nervous animals and prone to stress and shock during capture. This is an inhumane way to address human-wildlife conflict. We urge the Land's End Homeowner's Association to stop this cruelty and instead to adopt humane methods.

Please write a polite message to the Board of the Land's End Homeowner's Association: (their Web site is:

They also have a Twitter and Facebook accounts:

Tall beaksedge, photo by Sage Russell

21st: We recently received a group of images from Sage Russell, of plants found at the Refuge. Although these are from several years ago, they are excellent photos of plants that live here, like the tall beaksedge pictured here.

Coyotes in Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service

18th: We and the coyotes who call our Refuge home urge you to sign this petition to stop extreme cruelty to coyotes in Wyoming

Wyoming allows 'yote whackin', a cruel and brutal practice that includes coyote killing contests and the chasing and killing of coyotes with snowmobiles. Coyotes are hunted all year in Wyoming. Considered a predatory animal in the State, no license is required to hunt them.

Please support the effort to protect coyotes in Wyoming. Sign the petition and write to the Governor of Wyoming ( Further details can be found here:

Drawing of dolphin by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder

17th: Throwback to a long time in the past to this drawing of a dolphin by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder. Hope made sketches of a wide variety of species, not just those residing at the Refuge. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory

Beaver lodge in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

14th: This beaver lodge is on the far side of the main pond. Our habitat continues to entice beavers to stay and raise families.

White-tailed deer in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

13th: Support protests against deer hunting in New Jersey

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge provides a safe haven for white-tailed deer, one of the most easily recognized wildlife species in New Jersey. Shockingly, however, deer can be hunted and killed in 500,000 acres of state-owned public open space in NJ. Hunters are permitted to use not only shotguns, but also archaic and particularly cruel bow and arrows and muzzleloading rifles. They are allowed to spend over 100 days slaughtering these shy, elegant and engaging mammals. During 2017-2018, a staggering 48,545 deer were killed in NJ. This slaughter continues into 2019.

During January 2019, protests against deer hunting in Essex County are taking place. If you are able to, please support these events, taking signs (with polite, but firm messaging) with you:

South Mountain Reservation
Date & time: Saturday 19th January (between 11:30am-1:30pm)
Location: 560 Northfield Ave, West Orange, NJ (on the grassy surface, curbside, adjacent to the entrance of Turtle Back Zoo).

Hilltop Reservation
Date & time: Saturday 26th January (between 11:30am-1:30pm)
Location: Corner of Fairview Ave and Bloomfield Ave in Verona, NJ (on the curbside of Bloomfield Avenue)

For further details, contact Animal Protection League of New Jersey:

Moss in bog area, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

10th: Throwback to 2015 and this photo of one of our rich bog areas. The pictured sphagnum moss sprinkled with fallen leaves of a variety of trees makes a lovely 'salad'. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory

Bumblebee and buttonbush, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

7th: From earlier and warmer days at the Refuge, a bumblebee was gathering food from this buttonbush.

Beaver with reed in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

4th: Reason to Celebrate! After 180 years, beavers have returned to Milwaukee River. Milwaukee historian, John Gurda, reports in the Journal Sentinel. Although Gurda has eaten beaver meat in the past, he remarks, "What better way to start the new year than by cheering the return of these ancient natives to their ancestral home?" Read more at

Canada goose on frozen main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

3rd: Throwback to 2009 and this lone Canada goose on the snow-covered and frozen main pond. Her or his friends were nearby. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #Canadagoose

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