The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located in southwestern Florida, on Sanibel Island in the Gulf of Mexico. It is named for the cartoonist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling.
The 5200 acre (21 km2) refuge was established in 1976, to protect one of the country's largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems. The refuge is well known for its migratory bird populations. Hurricane Charley struck the refuge on August 13, 2004, causing major changes to the topography and ecology. The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of the following: the Darling Refuge itself, and the Caloosahatchee, Island Bay, Matlacha, and Pine Island National Wildlife Refuges.
The northern section of the refuge is in the J.N. Ding Darling Wilderness Area, which was created in 1976 and currently protects 2,619 acres (1,060 ha) or 41% of the refuge.
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