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Video: Hungry suburban Coquitlam wildlife make 'Late Night' appearance

American actress Cecily Strong was surprised to see the bears frequently feast on neighbours' garbage while recently filming in the Tri-Cities.
Actress and comedienne Cecily Strong recently gave a shoutout to Coquitlam on U.S. national TV after noticing neighbourhood bears on a frequent basis while filming a musical series.

A different kind of paparazzi hovered around an American actress' temporary home while recently filming in the Tri-Cities.

And she was surprised of how frequent they roamed around the property looking a big scoop — of garbage and other unnatural attractants.

Saturday Night Live alumna and Primetime Emmy nominee Cecily Strong gave a shout out to Coquitlam on national television Thursday (Nov. 3) while talking about her time in the region on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

The comedienne provided pictures to the show of several bears that walked through her neighbourhood looking for food in an apparent cul-de-sac.

Strong said, though she likes to visit her mountain cabin in upstate New York, it was unreal to see the big creatures in a suburban area.

"We didn't know that there would be bears like that. They sort of told us after we lived there," she explained to Meyers during the beginning of the interview.

"We were in Coquitlam, which I think, then you Google it, and it was like 'Bear Capital,' and there were lots of pictures and videos of bears reaching out for people walking trails or living in the suburbs."

Strong is one of the lead roles in the comedy-musical series Schmigadoon!

She and Keegan Michael-Key are a couple that goes hiking in the woods when they stumble across a bridge that takes them to a land where the music and singing seems to never stop.

Co-stars include 2022 Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Dove Cameron, Kirsten Chenoweth, Fred Armisen, Alan Cumming and Martin Short. 

Strong was filming season two of the Apple TV+ production, based out of Vancouver, during what appeared to be a sunnier time of the year for Coquitlam.

Strong said she was staying with a friend who took the bear photos, including one with a big slice of pizza in its mouth, as well as a video of one casually sniffing the garbage cans.

"It was every trash day, and also, but the place we were staying also had a koi pond," she added. 

"I was like, 'You know, I don't know much about bears, but the one thing I do know is that they snatch fish out of water.' So, what are we doing with the Old Country Buffet in the backyard?"

Later, Meyers revealed a photo of a raccoon that appeared at the back door of Strong's Coquitlam residence, looking as if it wanted someone to open the door to get to the kitchen.

Animals and unnatural food sources

Most Tri-Cities property owners are aware that wildlife are a very common sight in local neighbourhoods, such as bears, raccoons, cougars, deer and, most recently, coyotes.

According to WildSafeBC, more than 280 known local wildlife encounters from October were reported to its alert system — several of which involved the animals rummaging through garbage.

Municipalities have continued to urge local residents to secure trash and unnatural food sources when putting them out on collection day so wildlife is not tempted to return to the area.

In 2021, Coquitlam issued 105 bylaw tickets and 923 warnings for homeowners that left food scraps out for wildlife.

"Guided by massive appetites and a keen sense of smell, bears aren’t picky about what they eat and will choose the easiest meal," said city environment manager Caresse Selk in an eariler statement.

"They're enticed by unsecured garbage carts — particularly those left overnight at the curb — as well as open dumpsters, unrinsed recyclables, pet food, fallen fruit, bird feeders, compost and dirty barbecues."

WildSafeBC's tips on securing attractants are as follows:

  • Keep your garbage in or secured until the day of collection. Garbage is the number one attractant cited in reports to the provincial hotline
  • Manage your fruit trees
    • Don’t let windfalls accumulate, and pick fruit as it ripens
    • If you don’t want the fruit, consider...
      • Accessing a fruit gleaning group in your community
      • Washing the blossoms off in the spring so the fruit doesn’t set
      • Replacing the tree with a non-fruit bearing variety
  • Don’t put out bird feeders when bears are active
    • A kilo of bird seed has approximately 8,000 calories and is a great reward for a hungry bear
  • Keep your compost working properly with lots of brown materials and a regular schedule of turning
  • If you have livestock or backyard chickens use a properly installed and maintained electric fence to keep bears and livestock apart