Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
1/ 10
White-tailed deer, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
2/ 10
Oyster mushrooms, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
3/ 10
Ruffed grouse drumming, photo by Ed Abbott
4/ 10
White-breasted nuthatch, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
5/ 10
Kerria, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
6/ 10
Red-spotted purple butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
7/ 10
Swamp loosestrife, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
8/ 10
Rough green snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
9/ 10
Ring-necked ducks, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
10/ 10
Great egret, photo by Leor Veleanu

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


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 support vigil in memory of the raccoon brutally killed in NJ

Your additional support requested for GivingTuesday

Please help us keep wildlife at the Refuge safe this hunting 'season'

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.