Norwegians have been left mystified after the Australian government warned its citizens to be on the lookout for polar bears while visiting the Scandinavian country.
Australia's consular service for tourists, Smartraveller, told visitors to Norway to be wary of the threat posed by the deadly animals. An official guidance released via its Twitter and Facebook accounts advised:
"There are risks for travellers to the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard relating to avalanches, glacier accidents, boating incidents and polar bear encounters.
"The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Norway," it added.
Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs mocked the advice on Twitter by saying the only bears Australian visitors needed to look out for were the "stuffed" variety. They wrote on Friday (January 12):
"Thank you #Australia for your concern. We can assure you that in mainland Norway all polar bears are stuffed and poses only limited risk".
They further illustrated the point by tweeting a picture of a stuffed polar bear on display in one of their government buildings.
"Here's an example from our Prime Minister's office", they wrote.
Despite the Norwegian government's sarcastic reply, some areas in the Scandinavian country with significant polar bear populations still exist, such as Svalbard archipelago which is home to nearly 1,000 bears. The area is experiencing a minor tourist boom with 18,000 recorded tourists last year.
The vast majority of holidaymakers to the country will not have to worry, however, as Norway's polar bear population is limited to this remote chain of islands.