‘Stuffed bears won’t bite’: Norway mocks Aussie travel warning of polar predator attacks

Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a helpful clarification for Australian travellers, who had been warned by their government about Norwegian polar bear attacks.

The good-humored exchange began on January 10, when the Australian Government’s travel advisory and consular information service tweeted out that Aussie tourists should read their travel advice to “avoid polar bear attacks in Norway.” After being alerted to its supposed polar bear attack epidemic, Norway did some tweeting of its own.

“Thank you Australia for your concern. We can assure you that in mainland Norway all polar bears are stuffed and poses [sic] only limited risk,” the Norwegian Foreign Ministry tweeted back on Saturday.

In strict compliance with internet etiquette – “pics or it didn’t happen” – the Norwegian foreign ministry included a photo of the stuffed polar bear which graces the prime minister’s office.
Issued by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the polar bear warning was apparently specific to Norway’s Arctic Archipelago.

“There are risks for travelers to the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard relating to avalanches, glacier accidents, boating incidents and polar bear encounters,” according to the travel advisory. “The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Norway,” it added. 

In other bizarre-travel-warning news, the US State Department downgraded Russia’s safety ranking to “orange,” a color-coded danger category shared with such countries as North Sudan. The re-classification was widely mocked on Twitter.

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