Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spicebush swallowtail butterflies on butterfly weed, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Red raspberry slime, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Dragonfly on great mullein, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Trumpet vine with ants, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Female wood duck eating duckweed in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern cottontail rabbits, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Musk thistle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spiky bog moss, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern painted turtle, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Eastern worm snake, 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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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 call for an end to cruel fox snares in Stone Harbor, NJ

Still need your help to VETO NJ deer killing bill

Protest the killing of whales by Japan

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.