Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Red squirrel, photo by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci
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Ribbon snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Snail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Soft rush, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Sulfur shelf fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Swallows, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Purple coral mushroom, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Juvenile black vulture, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beaver lodge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beaver, 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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Breaking news: An exciting opportunity for protecting wildlife in New Jersey

Manager position open

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 deeply 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 some 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 Refuge comprises 767 acres of pristine forest, fields, wetlands, streams and lakes and is home to virtually every animal and plant indigenous to southern New Jersey. It is not a wildlife rehabilitation facility, rather a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings.

The manager lives onsite in provided, free accommodations, including utilities. The diversity of animals and plants provides a rich visual treat for wildlife enthusiasts. The voices of coyotes, eagles, foxes, frogs, owls and many more can be heard throughout the day and evening.

For further information and to apply, please see our online job description.

Environment Jobs has waived their usual fee in allowing us to list the job on their site.


Please DONATE to secure the future of our Refuge

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge has launched an urgent appeal to help guarantee a safe future for the animals and plants living here

We are embarking on one of our largest and most important endeavors and we need your help. Our headquarters, crucial to the administration and protection of the Refuge, urgently needs to be replaced. As well as being our office, the new building will also be home to the Refuge manager, a person who is crucial in maintaining the Refuge, patrolling and protecting it from unwanted intruders and providing guidance to Refuge visitors. In addition, we shall convert a second building to expand our education and volunteer center for those who come to learn from and enjoy this special wildlife habit in southern New Jersey...See 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.



Visiting the Refuge

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


Take Action to Help Wildlife:

Please show your support for the bears of New Jersey

Please call for an end to cruel fox snares in Stone Harbor, NJ

Still need your help to VETO NJ deer killing bill

Sick or injured wildlife?

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is not involved in wildlife rehabilitation. Click here for our information page on this subject on what to do and, especially, what not to do.