Giving New Jersey's Wildlife a Second Chance


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  - 2020 Update -

Woodlands Wildlife Refuge is proud to announce our important partnership with New Jersey Nature Conservancy. See the full story and watch three videos highlighting how our organizations are working together to save New Jersey's Wildlife at

  - 2019 Update -
Baby bobcat was orphaned, on verge of death. Now, he has a second shot at life. - Article
Rob Jennings - April 24th, 2019
- 2018 Recap -

- Winter 2017 Update -

- May 2017 Update -



- March 2017 Update -

Bobcat Released!

Endangered Bobcat Released To The Wild

Rana Novini - NBC-4

March 29, 2017

State releases bobcat into Wawayanda in West Milford

Richard Cowen- Bergen Record

March 29, 2017

Rehabilitated bobcat released to the wilds of Wawayanda

Bruce Scruton - New Jersey Herald

March 29, 2017

Bobcat roams free after being struck by a car and saved by surgery

Rob Jennings -

March 29, 2017

Bobcat released back into the Jersey wild after being hit by a car

Dan Alexander - NJ101.5

March 29, 2017

Bobcat struck by vehicle released into the wild in North Jersey

Daniel Hubbard -

March 29, 2017

- January/February 2017 Update -

Bobcat Kitten Update

A night vision trail cam allows us to get great observations of this elusive bobcat overnight! The bobcat kitten is doing well in the outdoor area. He has several climbing areas and platforms, a den and places to hide lower down out of camera view. He is Pending release this spring!

Posted by Woodlands Wildlife Refuge on Friday, February 10, 2017


New Education Diamondback Terrapin! We received an injured diamondback terrapin late in the season this year. Her injuries were minor and as we began to plan her release we found a problem. It turns out she was found over 30 miles from any diamondback habitat and in the middle of a development. It was then apparent that she was likely a "pet" that somehow found herself on the road. With no information on her true origins, and due to the high risk of disease spread to her and/or wild populations, she cannot be released. Unfortunately, she must live in captivity, but fortunately, she became a part of our mission to educate the public! She is seen in this video enjoying her first swim in her new habitat!

Posted by Woodlands Wildlife Refuge on Monday, January 30, 2017

- Fall 2016 Update-

Tracy Leaver, founder and executive director of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, was honored as a Leading Women Brand Builder by the Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners (LWE) at a dinner in Somerset on Oct. 17.

11/19/16 - Woodlands Refuge founder honored - My Central Jersey



-Winter 2015 Update-


-Fall 2015 Update -

American bald eagle shot in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, NJ. Information sought. Reward offered.

Click here for full details

This American bald eagle was found right near Woodlands Wildlife Refuge (WWR) and was not moving from a tree in a nearby residence for days. The Raptor Trust (TRT) called on WWR to try to help capture so we supported in any way we could! It was obvious the bird had an injured leg, but it wasn't coming down from that tree to be helped! After the 3rd day, and with the help to capture from Avian Wildlife Center, TRT was able to get this bird for rehabilitation! It was later found that the bird had been shot.

Woodlands Documentary


We are pleased to announce that the documentary about Woodlands which has been in the works for the past 8 months has just been published! This documentary highlights the special story of "Mike and Ike" the bears and the work done at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. For us it is cathartic and it will always amaze us what a difference a single animal can make. Many thanks to Andre and his fine work and to the rest of the NJ Advance Media and team. Your dedication to this project is truly appreciated.

Statements regarding the bi-pedal bear in North Jersey

Woodlands Statement - Click Here

Fish and Wildlife Statement - Click Here

- Winter/Spring 2015 Update -


In Memory of Mike - click here to visit
Mike's Memorial Page

In Memory of Mike Bear Cub News Coverage

4/28/15 Update: Click Here

4/2/15- 3 Month Update: Click Here

Eight Week Update: Click Here

Six Week Update: Click Here

Five Week Update: Click Here

Three Week Update:

Read the full cub cam article here on

Two Week Update: Click Here

Click here to read the original story on!

Other 2015 Bear Cub News Coverage:

2/3/15 - Lehigh Valley Live- Bear cub orphaned in Allamuchy State Park hunting accident dies

2/4/15 - A Live Cam Is Now Documenting A 4 Week Old Bear Cub - Buzzfeed

2/5/15- Huntsville News, WAAY and ABC 21 News - Live cam of cute orphaned bear cub

2/6/15- Cancel Your Weekend Plans For A Livestream of a Newborn Cub- MASHABLE

Thank you for a wonderful year!

In Memory of Grace

Click here to visit her memorial donation page & to read Grace's story

- Summer 2014 Update -

This one's just for FUN! A few weeks ago we successfully moved 10 bears into their new habitat. Shortly after, we received bear cub #11, "Tornado". All 11 cubs are happy in their new enclosure which includes a pond, stream, waterfall, two dens, two climbing structures, several tunnels, lots of greens, and an occasional shower! Enjoy this video of bears having fun!  Click here to see the photo album of their moving day! It takes a lot to care for these animals. Donate towards their care by clicking here.

- May 2014 Update -

Lady Jane Canadian Lynx Explores Her New Enclosure For The First Time!
YOU made this possible through last year's Gala Cat House donation challenge!

- January 2014 Update -

- December 2013 Update -

Woodlands Wildlife Refuge is proud to announce that its founder and Executive Director, Tracy Leaver, received the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ's Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award on Dec. 4.

See Hunterdon Democrat Article Here

- December 2012 Update -

Alexandria Township's Woodlands Wildlife Refuge announces 'Broke Leg Bear' book wins award - December 1st, 2012- Hunterdon County Democrat

- August 2012 Update -

"N.J. wildlife refuge gives injured, orphaned animals a second chance"- Aug 14, 2012- Hunterdon County Democrat

- June 2012 Update -

May 10, 2012

Many thanks to The Record! Click Here to read the story regarding a yearling (18 month old) bear.

April 23rd, 2012

Click Here to read the Suburban Trends article featuring the release of our latest endangered bobcat, "Tina"! See the release video here!

- December 2011 Update -

December 18th, 2011

Many thanks to Courier News! Click Here to read the front page story featuring Woodlands Wildlife Refuge!

- March 2010 Update -

In October, all 8 bears were moved to the large bear enclosure to continue their journey toward release in the spring. The bear that suffered a bad concussion was determined completely healed and functional in December. It was a great day when we watched as he ran and climbed a tree after some of the other bears!

All of them are denning in the same den. It must be very cozy in there. This winter's snow storms have given these bears something to sleep through as well as play in! Watching yearling bears romp and roll in the snow is just too funny. They must do it in the wild as well. As one person said while watching, "If they could make and throw snowball I am sure they would!"

These 8 bears will be released in the early summer to start again, their lives in the wild as wild bears. We truly appreciate everyone's support in caring for the bears.

- July 2009 Update -

Click above image for more photos!

In a mere 5 weeks we have once again received 8 orphaned bear cubs to care for!

One is from an unknown reason, as the cub was observed wandering Motherless throughout neighborhoods in northern Jersey.

One fell 27 feet inside a hollow tree. Its Mother tried for three days to dig him out until rescuers
cut a hole for him. Unfortunately, Mom never returned.

One was found lying in the road after being hit by a car and suffering from serious heat trauma.
After five days of unconsciousness this little one is back on his feet and slowly regaining all of his senses.

Two are siblings of a Mother that had to be destroyed after repeatedly breaking into a garage.

Three siblings were brought to us after their Mother was killed by a car.

As always, it is only through the support of a very generous public that can continue the work we do for New Jerseys Wildlife.

Read about Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in our Fall/Winter 2011 Newsletter below!

Also, please click on the links below for press coverage that the 2008 black bear
release events received!

"Woodlands prepares for bear release" - May 28, 2008 The Record Online (video)

"2 bears released back in the wild" - May 29, 2008 The Star Ledger (story)

"Back into the wild" - May 29, 2008 The Star Ledger (video)

"Orphan bear cubs released into wild in NJ" - May 29, 2008 WNBC New York (video)

"Bears go wild"- May 29, 2008 The Record Online (video)

"2 bear cubs that spent past year in refuge released" - May 29, 2008
Associated Press

January 2008

The Bears Have Moved Into Their New Cage!

Click here to see photos of their big day at Woodlands!

Bear Enclosure Stories!

Please click on the links below to check out the news stories as regarding the bears and the cage enclosure build in 2008.

"Orphaned Bear Cubs Move to New Habitat" - The Advertiser-News

"Orphaned Bear Cubs Get Bigger Digs" - (The Record)

"Providing bear necessities" - The Star-Ledger

"Ten bears need bear necessities" (with video!) - ABC News Story

"Big bears, once little orphans, strain nonprofit's resources" - Newhouse News Service

"Orphaned bear cubs to be released" - (The Record)

December 2007

The Bear Update

The bear cubs that arrived in June have grown a lot and are doing very well. We recently moved Wicked (the first bear that arrived in May) with “Broke Leg Bear” and they are both quite happy! This is very good for Broke Leg Bear as she has not been with another bear since her injury in June. Her recovery from a serious leg repair surgery took quite some time. She is moving pretty well now and there are few doubts she will be strong enough for release in the spring. Click here for photos and story of "Broke Leg Bear".

The new bear enclosure so many of you generously donated towards is almost complete! This large construction project got started just this month after many delays. The wonderful out pouring of volunteer help to make this happen in record time has been magical. We are expecting to move the bears into their new home very soon. Click here for photos of the 10 bear cubs including photos of the bear enclosure project!

The bears are all doing great and thanks to ALL of you who have already donated generously. We really need these please keep them coming!

A Bobcat at Woodlands!

Thanksgiving week brought us a badly injured bobcat. She had been struck by a car and took the full force in the face. Here injuries included several broken teeth, a badly lacerated tongue and a bottom lip just about torn off. To make it even worse she had a deep puncture wound above her tail and was suffering from a bad concussion. A quick emergency trip to the Clinton Perryville Animal Hospital and a few x-rays later amazingly showed no additional injuries or fractures. Dr. Niebojeski pulled remaining tooth fragments from her lip and sutured it back into place. After a few days of a soft diet (not easy to convince a bobcat to eat) she began to be able to bite small amounts of harder food. Within 10 days she was eating her regular food and behaving in more normal fashion. We are happy to say that she has been moved to an outdoor enclosure and will be released soon. Having the opportunity to help one of NJ's endangered species is truly a wonderful experience. See her before and after photos here!

For a copy of news stories about the orphaned bear cubs, please click the links below:

The Advertiser News (6/15/2007)

The Bergen Record (6/27/2007)

The Express Times (6/12/2007)

Hunterdon Democrat (6/14/2007)

The Star-Ledger (6/9/2007)

TV Jersey Story (6/19/2007)

WABC News Story (6/7/2007)

For an informative brochure published by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection about living with bears in New Jersey, click here.

Please note working with almost 600 wild animals a year and preparing them for release prevents us from being open to public visits. Please continue to check our web site for updates on these precious cubs as well as other wild comings and goings on at Woodlands.

Everyone at Woodlands greatly appreciates your support and generosity.

News Archive
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page last updated Dec 24, 2019

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Address: 676 County Road 513 Pittstown, NJ 08867 P: 908-730-8300 F: 908-730-8311 Email:

Tax ID: 22-3053310 Contents ©2020 Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. All rights reserved.