Woodlands Wildlife Refuge
Thirty years and 13,000 wild lives cared for thanks to the leadership and vision of Tracy Leaver, Executive Director of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. Woodlands is dedicated to receiving rehabilitating and releasing orphaned and injured wildlife.
Tracy is founder and Executive Director of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc. She started Woodlands in 1986 and today, Woodlands is a 501C 3 charity dedicated to the care and release of orphaned and injured wildlife and educating the public about NJ’s wildlife. Currently, Woodlands cares for nearly 1000 of New Jersey’s mammals and reptiles each year including black bear and the state’s endangered bobcat, and most recently the timber rattlesnake.
Tracy is a New Jersey permitted wildlife rehabilitator and holds the following permits: Rehabilitation permits, Captive Game permit for Education Animals; Scientific Holding permits for both Exotic and Non-game as well as potentially dangerous species and a USDA Aphis Animal Care exhibitors permit for Education Animals.
In 1990 Tracy organized a group of interested parties to form an association for wildlife rehabilitators. This organization became the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators whose current membership includes the majority of New Jersey’s wildlife rehabilitators. She served on that board from its inception through 2015. She is now an Advisor to that board.
In 1995, Tracy created and implemented the first black bear rehabilitation program in New Jersey. Working closely with the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Black Bear Team over 100 orphaned and injured bears have been cared for and more than 80 successfully released. This program and collaborative research effort has gained national and international interest due to its documented long term success by researcher Dr. John Beecham.
In 1997 Tracy received Woodlands’ first injured bobcat. After extensive surgery and a 6 month recovery it was successfully released. Working closely with New Jersey’s Endangered and Non-Game Species Program Woodlands has since cared for more than 20 bobcats.
2001 -2008 Tracy served as a Board Member and Chair of the Standards Committee of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association.
In 2006 Tracy was recognized in the publication: “Notable Women Throughout the History of Hunterdon County” by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission. This recognition was due to her work with Woodlands Wildlife Refuge.
In 2012 Tracy was appointed to the NJDEP/DFW’s Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Advisory Committee and currently serves on that committee.
In 2013 Tracy received the Women in Wildlife Inspiration Award from New Jersey’s Conserve Wildlife Foundation.
In 2015 Tracy Leaver attended and presented at the International Advancing Bear Care Conference in Vietnam. This conference is for all those caring for all 8 species of bears, is given by The Bear Care Group and was hosted by Animals Asia. This conference is attended by international delegates from various fields such as research, sanctuary, rehabilitation, education, zoo, and biologists. Tracy was a key presenter and participant in a roundtable meeting to enhance networking to move bear rehabilitation for release forward in Asia.
In 2016 Woodlands Wildlife Refuge celebrates 30 years of dedication to New Jersey’s orphaned and injured wildlife and has saved over 12,000 animals. Tracy continues to inspire others in the field of animal care through her selflessness and dedication to caring for orphaned and injured wildlife.