MERVILLE, B.C. -- Staff and volunteers at a Mid-Island animal rescue organization are caring for a trio of baby raccoons that were found dumped in a park earlier this week.

The three kits were located at the entrance to a park in Campbell River on Tuesday, according to Mountainaire Avian Rescue’s Kiersten Shyian.

“They were tucked in some insulation and it looked like they had been dumped there, somebody had dumped them and then drove away, which is really sad,” Shyian says.

The trio of patients were suffering from dehydration when they arrived.

“They’re just little babies,” Shyian says. “They’re very tiny. Their eyes are still closed. There’s no way they could survive without their mom.”

This time of year is the start of prime birthing season for raccoons, and according to Campbell River’s Bruce Henderson, the mothers are hiding their offspring from male raccoons.

“They don’t want the males to get to the kits because if they do they’ll kill them and eat them, so it’s just a mother’s way of protecting her kits,” Henderson says.

He says he’s a wildlife relocator who’s had a fascination with raccoons for most of his life, something not everyone shares.

“A lot of people think they’re a vermin, something to be destroyed, unfortunately,” he says.

Henderson says he relocates them, usually at a distance of 5 kilometres for females and 9 kilometres for males.

He says so far this spring he’s had half a dozen inquiries from people wanting him to relocate mothers and their babies, but he won’t do it at this point.

“I won’t relocate them right now because the babies are so small, they have to be kept at a certain temperature,” he says. “The kits are way too small.”

Shyian says the rescue centre will likely have to care for the young kits for the next three months.

“Hand-feeding several times a day with special formula, fluids and all that kind of stuff, it’s definitely pretty intensive,” Shyian says.