Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Canada goose, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern mud turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Red-tailed hawk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Fungi on log, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black rat snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Horned passalus beetle, photo by Dave Sauder
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Groundhog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Spicebush swallowtail butterfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black vultures, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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American bullfrog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields, bogs, streams and lakes. 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

What YOU can do to help wildlife

Beaver eating lily pads in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
North American beaver
Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

Outrage over beaver killings in Scotland: Let the UK know this is unacceptable (19 May 2020)

Last year, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge reported what we thought was good news, that after years of persecution, the Eurasian or European beaver (Castor fiber) had been added to the list of European Protected Species of Animals in Scotland. This purportedly would have made it an offense to kill, injure or capture the animals. This new protection, however, does not prevent the granting of a license by the authorities to use lethal means if considered "necessary". In response to a recent freedom of information request, it has been revealed that, shockingly, around one hundred beavers have been legally killed in Tayside. One can only conclude that the unofficial persecution of this keystone species has simply been replaced by sanctioned killing.

A Green Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Mark Ruskell, stated: "If reports are accurate, this level of culling will have made a devastating impact on the population of a supposedly protected species. The licensing scheme appears to have just legitimised the free for all killing spree that happened before the protected status was granted."

James Nairne, spokesperson for the Scottish Wild Beaver Group, which campaigns to protect beavers said: "These shocking figures represent a substantial part of the entire UK beaver population. If accurate, they completely undermine the Scottish Government's commitments to protecting nature and tackling biodiversity loss. Instead of sanctioning killing, the environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, urgently needs to endorse translocation of beaver families from low-lying farmland to suitable habitat in other areas in Scotland where their biodiversity enhancing benefits are sorely needed."

Please send polite E-mail to the following, calling on the Sottish Government to implement a national strategy that will protect and conserve beaver populations using humane methods of control:

Further information:

White-tailed deer safe at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
White-tailed deer
safe at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

URGENT ACTION needed to protect US national wildlife refuges (12 May 2020)

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed new and expanded hunting and fishing 'opportunities' at 97 national wildlife refuges and nine national fish hatcheries. The proposal would cover more than 2.3 million acres and represents the largest single expansion of hunting and fishing on federal properties in FWS history.

The proposal would allow fishing for the first time at several national wildlife refuges, including San Diego Bay in California and Everglades Headwaters in Florida; alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges, including Banks Lake in Georgia and Laguna Atascosa in Texas; hunting of bobcats, foxes, and mountain lions at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, and in Oregon, migratory bird hunting will be allowed for the first time at Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

In New Jersey, the proposal would expand existing fishing to new areas in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats and wetlands.

We need to extend the protection of wildlife at our national refuges, not extend opportunities to kill the animals, making a mockery of the designation as "refuges".

What you can and should do:

Please post your objections to this proposal. Go to this link and click the "Comment Now" button for "2020–2021 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations":

The deadline for comments is 8 June 2020.

Black-tailed prairie dogs; credit PIXNIO
Black-tailed prairie dogs

2 May 2020: Colorado bans wildlife killing contests

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is delighted to learn that Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has voted to end wildlife killing contests involving species such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes and prairie dogs. This is great news for wildlife and demonstrates the growing opposition there is to these cruel events, where participants compete for cash or other prizes for killing wild animals.

Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these contests, along with Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont, states that have some form of a ban on wildlife killing contests. New York and Oregon are also considering laws on the issue.

Similar cruel wildlife killing contests still take place in New Jersey. Here is how you can help to stop this:

Ray and fish at SeqQuest; photo J.C. Rice/New York Post
Ray and fish at SeqQuest
J.C. Rice/New York Post

Please join the call for SeaQuest Woodbridge to release animals to sanctuaries (21 March 2020)

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Murphy has closed malls in NJ, including Woodbridge Center Mall. SeaQuest, the controversial aquarium and zoo, has closed and there are concerns for the welfare of the animals kept there, including a variety of domestic and wild species. Various sanctuaries have offered homes to the animals, but the owner, Vince Covino, is refusing to allow this to happen.

Please help in this situation:

White cedar seedling, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
White cedar seedling

Please take action to help endangered and threatened plants in New Jersey (14 March 2020)

The New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Plant Protection Act, Assembly Bill 985, which is being co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Herb Conaway (D) and Kevin Rooney (R), has key implications for plants: Prohibits certain actions relative to endangered and threatened plant species; directs DEP commissioner to take certain actions to protect endangered and threatened plant species.

New Jersey has more than 2,000 native plant species and nearly 700 of them are considered rare. It is crucial that any endangered or threatened species, whether animal or plant is given protection.

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is home to many native plant species, including endangered and threatened plants such as Thuja occidentalis (also known as northern white-cedar), which is listed as endangered in New Jersey.

Please join us in helping New Jersey's rare plants. Contact your state Senators and Assembly representatives and urge them to support the New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Plant Protection Act, Assembly Bill 985.

If you do not know who your state legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

Coyote, photo by wpclipart

Please take action to end wildlife killing contests (8 March 2020)

A recent investigation carried out by the Humane Society of the United States into a wildlife killing contest in New York has uncovered the shocking slaughter of 118 coyotes, including heavily pregnant females. Hundreds of people took part in this cruel and sickening contest to kill the most and heaviest animals.

Wildlife killing contests like these are already banned in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont. Other states, such as Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington, as well as New Jersey and New York, are considering bills or proposed regulations to ban them.

Please take action to end this shocking slaughter of our wildlife:

Petition to close SeqQuest

Please support campaign to close down SeaQuest in Woodbridge, NJ (25 February 2020)

The New York Post has reported on a visit by its undercover team to SeaQuest in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Despite opposition, including from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, a new SeaQuest aquarium recently opened at the Woodbridge Center Mall. We oppose keeping any wildlife in captivity, particularly with the aim of 'entertaining' the public.

Read the article:

What you should do:

Beaver, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

NJ residents: Need your help for S3407/A2731 (15 January 2020)

The bill that would allow unlimited licensing to kill beavers, S3407/A2731, has passed through the legislature and is on its way to Gov Murphy. PLEASE contact Gov Murphy and ask that he VETO this bill:

Telephone: 609-292-6000
Tweet: @GovMurphy #SaveNJWildlife

Beaver in Refuge's main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Beaver in main pond

URGENT action needed before 13 January for beavers in New Jersey (13 January 2020)

We need you to send urgent messages to your state legislators (senators and assembly members) urging them to VOTE NO to S3407/A2731. This bill, which could be voted on this 13th of January, would remove the current statutory restriction of 200 beaver trapping permits per year and allow the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife to issue as many permits as it wants.

It is outrageous that beavers, whose important role in maintaining the health of our ecosystem is increasingly being recognized, are even allowed to be cruelly trapped and killed in New Jersey. We must stop the currently appalling situation from becoming even worse for this iconic keystone species.

If you do not know who your state legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

White-tailed deer at Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
White-tailed deer

Urgent action needed before January 13th for New Jersey deer (3 January 2020)

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is supporting Animal Protection League of NJ with their campaign to oppose bill S2419/A3242, dangerously close to becoming law, with concerns there will likely be a push for a final vote on January 13th.

S2419/A3242 is an appalling bill that removes any remaining restraints on killing deer in New Jersey. This Bill expands the cruel and unethical methods typically used by hunters. It expands killing and wounding methods for deer and other wildlife including killing animals directly over bait at point blank range, killing deer any time of day or night, shooting deer from moving vehicles and jacklighting (stunning deer with strong lights).

It also includes the "Multi-Species Depredation" Permit - permits issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife that "authorize agents of the owner or lessee, to kill any animal of a species listed in the permit which is on the land and known to cause crop damage". This could apply to a variety of species.

Please urge your New Jersey's Assembly Member to defeat S2419/A3242, and, for Governor Murphy to veto the bill, if its gets to his desk. If you do not know who your legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

Reach Gov Murphy at 609-292-6000 and Tweet him: @GovMurphy #SaveNJWildlife

North American river otter safe at Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
River otter safe at Refuge

Speak out against the cruel trapping of animals for their fur in NJ (22 December 2019)

The state of New Jersey continues to allow the trapping and killing of animals in order to get their fur. The animals who may be trapped over the winter months include beavers, coyotes, gray and red foxes, mink, muskrats, nutrias, opossums, otters, raccoons, skunks and weasels. Last year, trappers in NJ killed nearly 20,000 individuals, using inhumane traps such as body gripping traps (the notorious Conibear) and cable restraints. Although it is illegal to use steel-jawed leghold traps (coil spring / longspring) anywhere in NJ, the Fish and Game Council (FGC) circumvented this law by allowing the cruel 'enclosed foothold traps'.

NJ Senate Bill S179 (companion bill A3110 in Assembly) would ban the manufacture, sale, possession, importation, transportation or use of any trap that is a spring-loaded device that restrains an animal by the foot, leg or other body part, including an enclosed foothold type trap or any other type trap that uses a jaw, arm, bar, cable or wire to grasp or pin the animal's foot, leg or other body part.

What you can do: Please contact your state legislators and ask them to support S179/A3110. If you do not know who your legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

Other ways in which you can help:

Fox killing,
Fox slaughter

Massachusetts bans wildlife killing contests, New Jersey still allows (19 December 2019)

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is delighted to learn that, this week, the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board has voted to ban wildlife killing contests -- organized events in which participants, including children, compete for prizes by attempting to kill the most animals. This is a great result for wildlife as the ban will prohibit hunting contests for "predators and furbearers", including beavers, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, opossums, raccoons and skunks. The regulations will go into effect once they are signed and filed with the Secretary of State's office.

Massachusetts now joins Arizona, California, New Mexico and Vermont, states that have similar bans in place. New York and Oregon are also considering laws on the issue.

Sadly, these barbaric wildlife killing contests are still taking place in New Jersey. What you can do:

If you do not live in New Jersey, please write the legislators in your state and urge them to introduce legislation to ban killing contests. You can also sign the above petition to show your support.

American black bear cub and mom, photo Anton Sorokin/Alamy Stock Photo
American black bears
Anton Sorokin/Alamy Stock Photo

Urgent call to Governor Murphy to issue an Executive Order and stop the bear hunt (5 December 2019)

In October, a shocking 265 bears were tormented and killed in NJ by hunters brandishing bows and arrows and muzzle-loading rifles.

Yet, the slaughter is not yet over. It starts up again on the 9th December when hunters will be allowed to use 'modern' firearms to destroy even more of these iconic and majestic animals.

Governor Murphy has the power to stop this brutal and senseless slaughter. Please call him on 609-292-6000 and Tweet him: @Govmurphy to honor his campaign promise and issue an Executive Order now to shut down the December hunt.

Endangered gray tree frog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Endangered gray tree frog

Your additional support requested for GivingTuesday (3 December 2019)

December 3rd is GivingTuesday. It is a global day for giving, when we all can do something to support the good causes about which we care. This year, please include Unexpected Wildlife Refuge as we raise funds to ensure that we can continue to protect this prime habitat for New Jersey wildlife. Although we have an exceptionally small budget, we need money to operate, from mundane expenses such as utilities or important infrastructure projects such as the new headquarters building and, critically, salary for a dedicated onsite manager who ensures that hunters and others do not harm the wildlife living here. For over 50 years, our tireless efforts have been pivotal in providing a vital and globally unique ecosystem in New Jersey. In addition to 'common' species, our Refuge is home to many endangered and threatened species, including the endangered bald eagle, timber rattlesnake and gray tree frog (pictured), and the threatened American kestrel and red-headed woodpecker. Please support wildlife by making a donation to the Refuge TODAY by clicking here.

American mink, photo Pixabay
My fur, not yours!

Support Fur Free global day of action (30 November 2019)

Fur Free Friday is a global day of action against the cruel fur trade. Events take place across the U.S. Please support the following Fur Free protests in the NY and NJ area:

Caring Activists Against Fur - Fur Free Saturday
Steven Corn Furs
358 N State RT 17, Paramus, New Jersey 07652
Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 12:30 PM - 2 PM EST
Caring Activists Against Fur is also running a billboard campaign in NJ. To find out more:

Fur Free Friday in New York City
November 29, 2019
1 PM - 3 PM
Meeting Place - TBA

Bergdorf Goodman/ The Fur Source of New York
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019
5th Ave. (btwn. 57th & 58th)
Time: 1:30 5th Ave. near 57th St. & March to the Fur Source - ending time 3:00pm.

Sand tiger shark

URGENT Action needed - Shark Fin bill to be posted for an Assembly vote on Monday, 25 November (25 November 2019)

If you live in New Jersey, please contact your two Assembly members over the weekend and URGE them to vote YES for S2905/A4845 to stop the cruel trade in shark fins and shark fin products in New Jersey. If you do not know who your legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

Every year, millions of sharks are brutally mutilated so that people can have "shark fin soup". The fins of captured sharks are usually sliced off while the sharks are still alive. The sharks are then thrown back into the sea to suffer a prolonged and painful death. Not only is this appallingly cruel, sharks are also being pushed to extinction.

The intent of this important bill is to eliminate New Jersey's contribution to the global trade in shark fins by stopping the fin sale within the state.

American black bear; photo Bill Lea

Take action for the bears of New Jersey (30 November 2019)

Please support the bear hunt protest organized by Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ)

Governor Murphy has failed to keep his promise to place a moratorium on bear hunts in NJ. Bears continue to be tormented and killed. He can stop this brutal slaughter with an Executive Order.

Show your support by joining the protest: Betrayal of a Lifetime:

Date: Saturday, 30 November 2019
Time: 11 AM - 1 PM
Location: NJ-35 & Navesink River Rd, Middletown, NJ 07701

APLNJ requests people bring signs stating that the Governor has betrayed the bears. For example:
"Governor, Keep Your Promise and STOP the Hunt!"
"Sign an Executive Order!"
"Other Governors have stopped the hunt, Why can't you?"

Please check APLNJ Facebook event page for more details:

White-tailed deer forgaging for lilies in main pond; Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge needs your help patrolling this hunting 'season' (22 October 2019)

Hunting 'season' is upon us and UWR needs volunteers to assist with patrolling the Refuge boundaries to keep hunters from entering the Refuge. Enjoy the beautiful wetlands and woodlands of our wonderful Refuge while working to keep the animals safe. The amount of time you and your friends volunteer is up to you -- an hour or two or more (we patrol from dawn to dusk each day). We hope to provide coffee and tea, but it would help the Refuge if you brought your own refreshments (vegan, please, and no plastic bottles). As always, we provide volunteers with trail maps and orange safety vests.

Let us know which days and times you can patrol and we will add you to our calendar:

Bear cub, APLNJ

Please show your support for the bears of New Jersey (4 October 2019)

Bear hunting in New Jersey starts on October 14th

Hunting bears is cruel and inflicts substantial suffering on these sentient animals. Hunters can bait and shoot all bears including mothers and their cubs; incredibly, bows and arrows and muzzleloader guns are allowed, weapons that are not only archaic, but inflict the most suffering and often result in wounded animals escaping only to suffer a lingering death. Not only is this brutal treatment of bears unacceptable, there are alternative, humane and effective methods that can be adopted to address human-bear conflicts.

Please show your support for these iconic and majestic animals:

ATTEND a bear hunt protest organized by APLNJ (Animal Protection League of NJ)
Date: 19 October
Time: 12 PM - 2 PM
Location: Route 36, Middletown, NJ, between Wilson Ave and Church St, beneath APLNJ's bear billboard
(Contact APLNJ for exact location and further details:

SUPPORT bear hunt vigils that are being held from October 14-19
Each day quiet vigils, to show reverence for bears who have lost their lives, will be held at Whittingham weigh station. Times may change, so please contact Doreen Frega ( for details.
LOCATION: Whittingham Wildlife Management Area, 150 Fredon Springdale Road, Fredon, NJ (Coordinates: 41°01'26.1"N 74°47'40.1"W)

Please continue to contact Governor Murphy and politely urge him to prohibit bear hunting on all land in NJ, not just public land:
Telephone: 609.292.6000
Tweet: @GovMurphy #savenjbears

Article in NJ Herald:

Right whale, National Geographic

Bipartisan bill to Save the North Atlantic right whale (17 September 2019)

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act (S. 2453), to support the recovery of the North Atlantic right whale.

The North Atlantic right whale is a critically endangered species, with only about 400 left in the world. They are vulnerable to human activities such as becoming entangled in fishing gear or being struck by vessels.

If the SAVE Right Whales Act becomes law, it would establish a new grant program to fund projects between states, nongovernmental organizations and members of the fishing and shipping industries to reduce the impacts of human activities on the North Atlantic right whales.

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge welcomes the introduction of this bill and we commend Senators Cory Booker, Johnny Isakson (no longer in office) and Tom Carper for taking a stand to protect this critically endangered, magnificent and iconic species.

For further information:

Please write and thank the Senators for standing up for the endangered North Atlantic right whale:

APLNJ rally

Please attend rally in support of wildlife in NJ (takes place 21 September 2019)

Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) is holding a rally in support of the wildlife in NJ.

Date: 11:00 EDT Saturday, 21 September 2019
Location: along Route 17, in front of the Paramus Municipal Building, 1 Carlough Drive, Paramus, NJ

The rally will draw attention to the cruel lethal policies of NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife that cause such misery and suffering to bears, deer, coyotes, foxes, beavers, geese and many other wildlife species across the state.

Please attend and bring family and friends.

Let's speak up for the wildlife of NJ! For more information:

California has become the first state to ban trapping of animals for their furs (11 September 2019)

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge has welcomed legislation introduced in California that bans trapping of animals for their fur. The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019, signed into law by Gov Gavin Newsom, makes it illegal to trap animals on private and public lands, for the purposes of recreation or to sell their fur. Species impacted by this new law include beavers, bobcats, coyotes, foxes and otters, although it is still legal to trap these animals for other purposes, including for so-called pest control and public health.

The bill's author Lorena Gonzalez, an Assemblywoman from San Diego, stated in the news media: "Fur trapping is a cruel practice that has no place in 21st century California."

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge President, Dr Nedim Buyukmihci, who has been an outspoken opponent of the fur trade for many decades, stated: "This legislation demonstrates an encouraging change in attitude towards the way in which wild animals are viewed and treated. Trapping animals is cruel, especially to kill and take their fur. I hope other states will now follow the humane example set by California."

In further good news, California lawmakers are now considering a ban on the sale of fur nationwide. Please support by signing and sharing this petition:

Read more here:

Fox killing,

Arizona bans wildlife killing contests, New Jersey still allows (7 September 2019)

Arizona has banned organized wildlife killing contests where people try to kill the most coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other animals for prizes.

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge commends the Arizona Governor's Regulatory Review Council for unanimously approving this ban. Wildlife killing contests are cruel and efforts to ban them are increasing. Already, New Mexico and Vermont have banned coyote killing contests and several other states are reportedly considering similar rules or legislation.

Sadly, these barbaric wildlife killing contests are still taking place in New Jersey. Please sign and share the petition calling for an end to them:

Turtle Back Zoo,

The Turtle Back Zoo in Essex County, NJ wants to expand and is seeking public funding from Green Acres for a Grizzly bear exhibit (28 August 2019)

The mission of the Green Acres program is to obtain and protect open spaces in order to 'preserve and enhance New Jersey's natural environment and its historic, scenic, and recreational resources for public use and enjoyment'. Public funding should not be used to imprison wild animals for entertainment.

Please sign and share this petition calling for an end to the expansion of Turtle Back Zoo:

Cyanide killed, Care2

Wildlife 'management' through cyanide explosives

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is appalled to learn that the US Government has reauthorized the use of 'cyanide bombs' to kill wild animals such as coyotes and foxes. The spring-loaded devices, called M-44s, work by attracting animals with bait then violently spraying poison into their mouths. These devices are not only viciously inhumane, they also indiscriminately kill thousands of 'non-target' animals and have injured people. In 2018, the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to assess the use of the M-44 devices after a lawsuit was brought by four conservation and animal welfare groups. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 200,000 people wrote letters of objection to the M-44 devices during the 18-month assessment period and, despite the fact that 99.9% of responses to the EPA's proposal were in support of a ban (according to an analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity), the EPA has decided that these cruel killing devices are "safe" and will allow their continued use on an interim basis.

Please sign and share this petition urging the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ban these devices:

Further information:

Please call for an end to cruel fox snares in Stone Harbor, NJ (15 July 2019)

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is using snares to trap red foxes at Stone Harbor Point in NJ in an attempt to protect nesting piping plovers. Snares are wire nooses that continue to tighten around the caught animal's neck or leg as he or she struggles to get loose. They cause major damage to tissues, extreme fear inherent in a wild animal being trapped and slow strangulation, and are an especially inhumane way to trap animals. Furthermore, the foxes have as much right to live as do the plovers.

Local residents are urging the Borough to persuade the DEP to look at humane alternatives such as relocation. Stone Harbor Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour is backing these ideas and she and other council members are asking state and federal representatives for further information on why snare traps are used and if alternatives exist.

Please write to the Mayor and other council members thanking them for showing compassion on this issue and urging them to call on the DEP to stop the cruel capture of foxes with snares:

APLNJ alert

Still need New Jersey residents to call Governor Murphy (3 July 2019)

Even if you have already done so, please call Governor Murphy at 609-292-6000 and ask him to VETO deer killing bill S2419/A3242

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is supporting Animal Protection League of NJ with this campaign. S2419/A3242 has been passed by the Senate and is now on the Governor's desk waiting for his signature. This Bill expands the cruel and unethical methods typically used by poachers. It expands killing and wounding methods for deer and other wildlife including: Killing animals directly over bait at point blank range; killing deer any time of day or night; shooting deer from moving vehicles, and jacklighting, or stunning deer with strong lights.

It also includes the "Multi-Species Depredation" Permit - permits issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife that "authorize agents of the owner or lessee, to kill any animal of a species listed in the permit which is on the land and known to cause crop damage". This could apply to a variety of species.

Japan murdering whales, NY Times

Protest the killing of whales by Japan (2 July 2019)

An international outcry has followed Japan's return to commercial whaling. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a global intergovernmental body, agreed to a hunting moratorium to allow whale numbers to recover. Japan announced in December that it was withdrawing from the IWC and would, therefore, no longer be subject to its rules (it had continued whaling during this period for what it said were 'research' purposes). This week, five whaling ships, with a permit to catch hundreds of whales in Japanese waters, started the country's first commercial hunt in over three decades. At least one whale has already been killed.

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is appalled by this news. These iconic majestic giants of the seas will be subjected to long and painful deaths from exploding harpoons; scientific research has shown that there is no 'humane' way to kill a whale.

What you can and should do:

More information:

Deer shot with arrow,

Take Action to STOP the River Vale (NJ) deer hunt (14 June 2019)

If you are a resident of New Jersey -- especially Bergen County -- please sign this petition calling on the River Vale Mayor and Council not to pass Township law that would allow deer hunting on River Vale golf courses and town owned land:

The petition has been started by the League of Humane Voters of New Jersey who are urging the use of non-lethal solutions to resolve wildlife conflict situation.

Raccoon, NJ Animal Save Movement
Safe white-tailed deer, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Urgent appeal to New Jersey residents about proposed deer bow hunt in River Vale (19 May 2019)

A final decision on whether to allow a proposed deer bow hunt to take place this year in River Vale, NJ, has been postponed until the end of May to allow residents to express their opinion on the issue. This postponement follows a recent council meeting at which around 60 residents attended to express their opposition. Calls for non-lethal means of deer control such as sterilization and relocation have been rejected by the local Council as not acceptable by the State Fish & Game Council. Instead, the proposal is to allow the hunting of deer with bows and arrows. Such a method is inhumane and cruel and likely to result in lengthy suffering to the animals.

Even if you do not live in River Vale, please contact the Mayor and Council as soon as possible, urging them to not allow the bow hunt, but to instead adopt non-lethal means to control the deer population. If you know of people in River Vale, please ask them to write. It is crucial that the Council is aware of the strength of local opinion on this issue.

Write to Mayor Jasionowski and Council Members:

For recent media coverage:

Fox slaughter, NJ;

New Jersey residents (12 April 2019)

You have an opportunity to help end barbaric wildlife killing contests in your state (others should sign, too, to show their support). Please read this petition, sign it and share widely:

Snow geese, Wikipedia

New Jersey to allow snow goose hunting during February-April 2019 (27 February 2019)

The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife is to implement a "Spring light goose Conservation Order" that allows the hunting and killing of this migratory bird. 'Light goose' is the collective name applied to greater snow geese, lesser snow geese and Ross's geese. (See end of last paragraph for what you can do.)

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 established Federal protection that prohibited, unless allowed by regulations, to hunt, capture and kill migratory birds. However, since spring 2009, many Atlantic Flyway states, including New Jersey, have implemented a Conservation Order (CO) for light geese. A CO is a special 'management' action, authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and is used to control a wildlife population when traditional management programs are deemed unsuccessful in preventing 'overpopulation' of a species. (See our wildlife Myths page for why the issues of 'management' and 'overpopulation' are ridiculous and extremely inhumane concepts.)

Other states to hold similar hunts this year are Delaware, Maryland, Vermont, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The Conservation Order allows an extended time period outside of traditional hunting seasons as well as additional methods for hunting these birds without bag limits; including the use of electronic calls, unplugged shotguns, and extended hunting hours up to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Snow geese breed in Greenland, Arctic North America and Siberia -- some migrate south in the autumn to spend the winter on the Atlantic coast of the USA. Snow geese often spend their winters at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge. The arrival of a flock of noisy snow geese at the Refuge is a welcome sight. Snow geese usually live in very large flocks; pairs mate for life and create very close bonds with each other and their young. Families remain together through the youngs' first winter and can be identified as groups during both the southern and northern migrations. It is appalling to know that in New Jersey, and other states, members of these close families can be randomly blasted out of the sky. We do not know what can be done to prevent this, but you could contact the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and voice your objection so that at least they know not everyone agrees with their 'management' decisions. Contact information is here:

Black bear, Bill Lea

Challenge to New Jersey bear hunt rejected by court (13 February 2019)

A challenge to New Jersey's bear hunt has been rejected by a state appeals court. The challenge, brought by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, The League of Humane Voters of New Jersey as well as several individuals, was an attempt to stop the implementation of amendments introduced in 2015 that added a second annual hunt in October to the existing hunt in December, allowed bow hunting and increased the number of hunting permits.

Angi Metler, executive director of the Animal Protection League, told the New Jersey Herald: "Non-lethal black bear conflict management is key and the future, no matter what the courts say," she continued. "We're not giving up until that day arrives."

Bear hunting in New Jersey was reintroduced in 2003. In 2018, 140 bears were killed in October and 85 in December. Governor Phil Murphy made a promise to impose a moratorium on bear hunting when he took office, but has failed to deliver. To date, he has stopped bear hunting on public land only. Bears can still be tormented and killed on private land.

The annual slaughter of these majestic and sentient animals must end.

Please continue to call (609-292-6000) and tweet Governor Murphy urging him to end bear hunting on all lands in New Jersey (@GovMurphy promised to cancel the #bearhunt).

For further information:

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

Stop the killing of deer in Essex County Parks (26 January 2019)

Please sign and share this petition to stop the killing of deer in Essex County Parks (South Mountain, Hilltop, and Eagle Rock Reservations), New Jersey and instead adopt humane methods to deal with wildlife-people conflict and population control. The petition has been started by the League of Humane Voters, New Jersey.

White-tailed deer are one of the most easily recognized wildlife species in New Jersey; many of whom live at Unexpected Wildlife Refuge. Sadly, they are also one of the most persecuted species, cruelly hunted and killed with bow and arrows, shotguns and muzzle loading rifles.

Access the petition here:

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

Call for an end to the deer slaughter in Texas (22 January 2019)

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:

Coyotes in Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service

We and the coyotes who call our Refuge home urge you to sign this petition to stop extreme cruelty to coyotes in Wyoming (18 January 2019)

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: