Tag Archives: Argentina

Fossil Friday: new armless dinosaur species unearthed in Argentina

Researchers in Argentina have discovered a new — and pretty armless — species of dinosaur.

Carnotaurus sastrei, an abelisaurid relative of the new species, and probable look-alike dinosaur. Image credits Fred Wierum / Wikimedia.

Christened Guemesia ochoai, it was a species of abelisaurid, a clade of dinosaurs that roamed today’s Africa, South America, and India, and lived around 70 million years ago. Based on its age, researchers believe that this species was a close relative of the ancestors of all abelisaurids.

The animal’s partially-complete fossil skull was unearthed in Argentina and points to a unique ecosystem that developed in the area during the Late Cretaceous. The discovery is quite exciting as the area where it was found has yielded very few abelisaurid fossils, so it fills in an important piece of its historical puzzle.

Armless in Argentina

“This new dinosaur is quite unusual for its kind. It has several key characteristics that suggest that is a new species, providing important new information about an area of the world which we don’t know a lot about,” says Professor Anjali Goswami, co-author of the study describing the species and a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum of London.

“It shows that the dinosaurs that live in this region were quite different from those in other parts of Argentina, supporting the idea of distinct provinces in the Cretaceous of South America. It also shows us that there is lot more to be discovered in these areas that get less attention than some of the more famous fossil sites.”

By the time this species emerged, the ancient supercontinent of Pangaea had already begun to break apart forming Gondwana and Laurasia. The former would, in turn, split into the major continents in the Southern Hemisphere today and India.

Despite these landmasses slowly drifting apart, species could still move between them, so researchers assume that the fauna of these landmasses remained quite similar, as animals migrated between them. Abelisaurids were among these species.

Abelisaurids were top predators in their ecosystems, preying even on the mighty Titanosaurus. One of their most defining features was the front limbs; even shorter than those of the T. rex, these were virtually useless. In other words, the species did their hunting without being able to grasp, relying instead on their powerful jaws and necks to capture and subdue prey. They seem to have been quite successful at it, too: fossils of these dinosaurs have been found in rocks across Africa, South America, India, and Europe, dated all the way to the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Although Argentina is well-known for abelisaur fossils (35 species have been discovered here so far), the overwhelming majority of these were discovered in Patagonia, in the country’s south. The north-western stretches of the country have yielded precious few. The newly-discovered skull joins this exclusive list.

The fossil, consisting of the braincase with the upper and back parts of the skull, was unearthed in the Los Blanquitos Formation near Amblayo, in the north of Argentina. The rocks it was encased in have been dated to between 75 and 65 million years ago. In other words, this specimen lived very close to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, the event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Like other abelisaurids, the skull contains a “remarkably small” braincase, according to its discoverers; its cranium is around 70% smaller than that of any of its relatives. This could suggest that the animal was a juvenile, but this is yet unconfirmed. One distinguishing feature of the dinosaur is a series of small holes at the front of its skull, arranged in rows, known as foramina. Researchers believe these holes helped the animal cool down, by allowing blood pumped into them (and covered by the thin skin at the front of the head) to release the heat it contained.

In contrast to other species of abelisaurids, the skull completely lacks any horns. This suggests that the species is among the first to emerge in the abelisaurid clade before these dinosaurs evolved horns.

Given that there is enough evidence to distinguish it as a new species, the team christened it after General Martin Miguel de Güemes, a hero of the Argentine War of Independence, and Javier Ochoa, a museum technician who discovered the specimen.

“Understanding huge global events like a mass extinction requires global datasets, but there are lots of parts of the world that have not been studied in detail, and tons of fossils remaining to be discovered,” Professor Anjali says.

“We left some exciting fossils in the ground on our last trip, not knowing that it would be years before we could get back to our field sites. Now we are hoping that it won’t be too much longer before we can finish digging them up and discovering many more species from this unique fauna.”

The paper “First definitive abelisaurid theropod from the Late Cretaceous of Northwestern Argentina” has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Argentinian lake turns bright pink due to industrial pollution

In Argentina’s southern Patagonia region, you can find a pink lake. It wasn’t always pink, obviously, and local activists blame pollution from fish-preserving industries for the change.

The change in color, according to local environmental engineers, has been caused by sodium sulfite, a salt used as an antibacterial agent in fish factories. Waste from such factories is dumped into the Chubut river that eventually drains into the Corfo lagoon (the one turned pink) and other bodies of water in the region. Locals have also complained repeatedly about the foul smells and environmental concerns they’re seeing around both the river and lagoon for some time now.

Pink as prawns

“Those who should be in control are the ones who authorize the poisoning of people,” environmental activist Pablo Lada told Agence France-Presse (AFP), blaming the government for the mess.

It all started last week when the lagoon’s water started taking on a pink hue. It stayed that way through to the weekend. Environmental engineer and virologist Federico Restrepo explained for AFP that the color is caused by sodium sulfite in fish waste. By law, he adds, this should be removed before any waste can be dumped.

It’s not the first time that the Corfo lagoon changed colors — it previously turned fuchsia due to runoff from the Trelew industrial park.

Fed up with the issue, nearby residents have taken to blocking the roads used by trucks carrying processed fish waste to treatment plants. Dozens of trucks are being turned around every day, according to locals. However, this has led provincial authorities to grant factories in the region permission to dump their waste directly in the lagoon.

“The colouring is due to the preservative, sodium sulphide, an antibacterial agent which also contaminates the water table of the Chubut River and the water supply of cities in the region. The law orders the treatment of such liquids before being dumped,” said Federico Restrepo.

Although the fish processing industry generates thousands of jobs in the region, locals are fed up with their flaunting of environmental regulations. “These are multi-million-dollar profit companies that don’t want to pay freight to take the waste to a treatment plant that already exists in Puerto Madryn, 35 miles away, or build a plant closer,” the AFP cites one local as saying.

Giant otter believed to be extinct decades ago is spotted in Argentina

Conservationists in Argentina are celebrating after the sighting last week of a wild giant otter, an animal that was last seen in the 1980s and believed to be extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. The otter was spotted swimming alone on the Bermejo River in Impenetrable national park, located in north-east Argentina.

Image credit: Rewilding Argentina

Sebastián Di Martino, director of conservation at Fundación Rewilding Argentina, a conservation organization, captured the photo on his phone while kayaking on the river. He told The Guardian it was “a huge surprise” and that he was “incredulous,” wanting to “rush back” to tell the other members of the organization. 

The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the largest otter species in the world, measuring up to 1,8 meters and weighing about 33 kilos. It can be found in large rivers and swamps in northern and southern South America. They have been nearly wiped out, first because of their fur, and now because of extractive activities happening in their habitats. 

It’s considered extinct in Argentina, with the last sighting reported in 1980 in the province of Misiones. In the Bermejo River, where it was now spotted, it hasn’t been seen for over 100 years. The closest registered populations live in the Paraguayan Pantanal, 1,000 kilometers away, so the otter could have arrived from there. 

“Giant river otters, as top predators, exert a regulatory influence in the aquatic ecosystem,” Di Martino said. “It’s a regulator of fish populations, which contributes to the health of aquatic ecosystems. It’s a spectacular animal, and it’s enormous. They are trusting and curious. To share the environment with them is marvelous.”

Such is the importance of otters that the conservation organization has long been working on plans to reintroduce them. They first brough in a mating pair from Denmark and Hungary, named Coco and Alondra, soon to be released in Argentina’s massive Ibera wetland. Another otter, Nanay, recently arrived from Switzerland. 

Rewilding Argentina has also been working to bring back top predators and other species to their native habitats. Six jaguars (Panthera onca), the largest predator in South America, were released earlier this year. The organization will continue working with the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and the yaboti tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria). 

The organization helped create the Impenetrable National Park in Argentina in 2014, where the otter was recently spotted, alongside Tompkins Conservation. The Park has 1280,000 hectares of native forests and waterways and is located in the Gran Chaco Forest, an area that has been subject to large levels of deforestation over the years.  

“For us, the importance of this sighting is that we’re reminded that we have to protect more of this gem of biodiversity that is Impenetrable national park,” Di Martino said. “The Bermejo River, where this otter was found, is full of illegal hunting and fishing activity. There needs to be more supervision, but also the river has to open up to activities such as tourism.”

Bitcoin now consumes more energy than Argentina

Tesla, the leading electric automaker on a mission to accelerate the world’s transition away from dirty, global-warming-causing fossil fuels, made headlines this week after it announced it bought a staggering $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin. However, it will be difficult for Tesla in the future to reconcile its environmentally-friendly branding with the fact that Bitcoin is such a polluting cryptocurrency.

According to a new study from Cambridge University, keeping Bitcoin running consumes 121 terawatt-hours a year. That’s about as much as Argentina, a country of 44 million, uses in a year.

Bitcoin has had a fantastic run so far. It quadrupled in value in 2020, experiencing a meteoric 50% growth in December alone. It now trades for upwards of $44,000, which is kind of ridiculous.

But as its traded value grows more and more with a reputation for high-flying returns, so does its energy requirements. A higher price gives miners the incentive to buy and operate expensive and energy-intensive processing units, enlarging the cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint.

There’s not much we can do about this because Bitcoin is meant by design to consume that much electricity. In order to “mine” Bitcoin, computers solve complex equations for so-called “Proof of Work” that verify transactions made by people who send or receive the cryptocurrency. Some have even invested in entire warehouses of computing machines whose sole purpose is to connect to the Bitcoin network and solve its energy-intensive puzzles — energy that most often than not comes from cheap coal power.

Many such mega-miners operate in China’s Xinjiang region, where electricity can cost as little as 0.22 yuan ($0.03) per kilowatt-hour, compared with 0.6 to 0.7 yuan in central China, according to BloombergNEF. Although there are some massive renewable energy projects in development in the region, most of this dirt-cheap energy is from coal.

And because the next Bitcoin is increasingly harder to ‘mine’ than the former, the energy requirements will only increase with time. At this rate, it won’t be long before Bitcoin gobbles up more energy than Ukraine, Sweden, Vietnam, or Poland. So, what to do?

Really, the only thing that will bring energy costs down is if the price of Bitcoin crashes. Some claim that Bitcoin is a huge bubble waiting to burst, but there are also bullish investors who have price targets upwards of $100,000 or even $500,000. Alternatively, if all Bitcoins were mined with renewable energy, no one would fault it for its environmental impact — but this scenario is far removed from the probable future.

There are some merits to adopting a decentralized financial system, but using a cryptocurrency that is literally designed to be inefficient doesn’t really sound like a good idea. Bitcoin may be a good sustainable financial investment, but it’s definitely not a sustainable environmental one.

Fossil dino discovered in Argentina might have been the largest-ever animal on dry land

The remains of one dinosaur unearthed in Argentina, while yet unidentified, could have belonged to an immense creature.

Argentinosaurus huinculensis, a closely-related species of the new dinosaur. Image credits Nobu Tamura / Wikimedia.

Paleontologists have discovered the 98 million-year-old titanosaur in northwest Patagonia (the tip of the South American continent) in the Neuquén Province. The trove included 24 vertebrae from the tail, alongside elements of its pelvic and pectoral girdle, found in sedimentary deposits in the local Candeleros Formation. Titanosaurs, as their name suggests, were immense animals; believed to have been the largest animals to have ever walked on land.

Argentinian titan

“It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we’ll have the possibility to address with confidence how really big it was,” Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist with Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, told CNN.

Titanosaurs were part of the sauropod family, a group of dinosaurs known for their impressive size, long necks, and long tails. These four-legged animals were herbivores and were only contested by the most deadly top predators during their heyday — between the Late Jurassic and into the Cretaceous. So far, titanosaurs have been discovered on all continents except Antarctica.

The authors of the paper believe that the fossils could have belonged to “one of the largest sauropods ever found”, larger even than a Patagotitan, a species of dinosaur that grew up to 37.2 meters (122 feet) in length. Patagotitans have so far been found only in Patagonia (hence, the name) and they were really, really plump, growing to around 77 tons.

Without access to one of the newly-discovered dinosaur’s humerus or femur for a proper, in-depth analysis, it’s impossible to say for sure how much it weighed. Judging by the relative size of the bones they did find, however, it could very well be “considered one of the largest titanosaurs,” the team explains. It likely grew heavier than the Patagotitans or Argentionaurus (another local dino species that could grow up to 110 tons).

The authors say that the new discovery points to the co-existence of large and medium-sized titanosaurs alongside small-sized rebbachisaurids, a relatively obscure family of sauropods, in the area at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous period. Still, for now, they don’t believe we’re looking at a new species of dinosaur, but they haven’t been able to identify it either.

“These size differences could indeed explain the existence of such sauropod diversity in the Neuquén Basin during the Late Cretaceous in terms of niche partitioning,” they wrote.

The paper “Report of a giant titanosaur sauropod from the Upper Cretaceous of Neuquén Province, Argentina” has been published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

Massive 700-km ‘megaflash’ stretching from Argentina to Brazil is longest lightning bolt on record

The largest lightning bolt in recorded history happened on October 31, 2018 in southern Brazil, although the flash stretched from eastern Argentina all the way to the Atlantic, the World Meteorological Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, said. The discharge, which stretched over 700 km, is equivalent to the distance between Boston and Washington DC.

Satellite image of record extent of lightning flash, Brazil, 31 October 2018. Credit WMO

But this wasn’t the single record that was certified. The WMO’s group of experts on weather and climate extremes also reported another record for the longest lightning flash over northern Argentina. The single flash lasted for a total of 16,73 seconds and, like the one in Brazil, also spanned through several hundred kilometers.

The new records were more than double the previously known record-holders, the WHO said in a statement. The previous record for duration was of 7.74 seconds, measured on August 30, 2012, in southern France. Meanwhile, the previous record for length was 321 kilometers (199 miles) and was registered in Oklahoma on June 20, 2007.

The new measurements reveal “extraordinary records from single lightning flash events,” Randall Cerveny, the chief rapporteur in the WMO expert committee, said in a statement. “It is likely that even greater extremes still exist, and that we will be able to observe them as lightning detection technology improves,” he said.

The previous records were registered using data obtained by so-called ground-based lightning mapping array networks, which WMO experts claim have upper limits in the scale of lightning that can be observed. But recent advances in space-based lighting mapping now allow researchers to measure flash extent and duration much better.

Credit WMO

This has allowed for the detection of “previously unobserved extremes in lightning occurrence, known as ‘megaflashes’,” Michael Peterson, of the Space and Remote Sensing Group of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, said in a statement. Megaflashes “are defined as horizontal mesoscale lightning discharges that reach hundreds of kilometers in length,” he said.

For years, lightning was understood as a local event, resulting from an imbalance of electrical charge. But new research by WMO experts recently showed that some lightning events can be “mesoscale” in nature, reaching the scale of the occasionally massive sprawling storm complexes that create them.

Lightning is indeed a major hazard that claims many lives every year. For example, in the United States, lightning strikes kill on average 48 people per year, also injuring hundreds. Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year. The most people killed by a single strike of lightning were 21 people in Zimbabwe in 1975.

Low-latitude areas experience far more lightning than higher-latitude areas, a study showed in 2017. Tropical regions can get hit by lightning strikes year-round whereas northern latitudes experience lightning only half that time. One square kilometer of Lake Maracaibo receives 233 flashes of lightning each year, more than any other place on Earth

The findings highlighted important public lightning safety concerns for electrified clouds where flashes can travel extremely large distances. The WHO advises to follow the 30-30 rule – if the time between flash and thunder is less than 30 seconds, go inside and wait 30 minutes after the last observed flash to resume outdoor activities.

Paleontologists find 10-meter-long megaraptor in Argentina

It’s not just football that Argentina is famous for. The country is packed with dinosaurs’ fossils, with 80 species found so far in its territory. That’s 10% of the 800 that have been discovered across the world. Half of all known species have been found in Argentina, the US, China, and Mongolia. Now, a new species has been added to the roster.

Artist impression of a megaraptor. Credit Wikipedia Commons

Following two weeks of excavations, a group of paleontologists found a new megaraptor in the south of Argentina, specifically in the province of Santa Cruz. The specimen measured about 10 meters (33 feet) in length, which makes it one of the largest megaraptors found so far.

In a statement, the team said that the remains date back 70 million years – towards the end of “the age of the dinosaurs”. Fernando Novas, who was involved in the excavations, told Reuters news agency that “this new megaraptor that we now have to study would be one of the last representatives of this group” before the dinosaurs became extinct.

Megaraptors were large predatory dinosaurs that prospered during the Cretaceous period, primarily in the southern hemisphere (remains were also found in Australia and Asia) until the mass extinction that happened approximately 65 million years ago.

“Unlike the Tyrannosaurus rex, the megaraptors were slimmer animals, more prepared to run, with long tails that allowed them to maintain balance. They had muscular legs to be able to take long steps,” said in a statement Mauro Aranciaga Rolando, a fellow at the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences (MACN).

Megaraptors had several characteristics that made them particularly lethal. According to Aranciaga, their main weapons were their extremely long and muscular arms. They also had claws on their thumbs, which had a sharp edge and could reach 40 centimeters in length.

Researcher Fernando Novas said that this new discovery will allow paleontologists “to know how these dinosaurs were in this corner of Patagonia and to know their relationships with the megaraptors found in other parts of the world.” Novas discovered the first specimen of this group of dinosaurs in 1996 and gave them their name.

The smallest specimens of megaraptors so far found measured about five meters, while the largest reached lengths similar to this specimen found in Argentina. To extract the fossils, which were locked in extremely hard rock, it was necessary to use appropriate machinery such as a rock cutter.

In a task that took about two weeks, with chisels and hammers, paleontologists removed the rock surrounding the specimen in order to remove each of the fossilized bones. The rock that contained the fossil was covered with plastic and bandages and transported to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

The formidable predator is now under quarantine at the Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires, waiting for the researchers to continue with their preparation and study. After being fully described, the fossils will make their trip back to the province of Santa Cruz to enrich the collections of the “Padre Molina” Museum.

Uruguay, coronavirus and why people should obey the self-quarantine

While we shouldn’t panic, the coronavirus outbreak should be taken seriously. It’s new to humans, so we don’t have any way to fight it yet. That means we should do everything we can to prevent it from spreading from person-to-person.

Credit Wikipedia Commons

The virus arrived late in Latin America, mainly brought to the region by travelers arriving from European countries. Countries reacted fast and strong, closing their borders to foreigners, forcing people to stay at home, and asking those who arrived from Europe or China to self-quarantine.

Nevertheless, not everyone complied, and the effects are already visible. In Uruguay, Carmela Hontou, a fashion designer, returned from Europe and went to a 500-guest wedding, despite having symptoms of the virus. The result? 44 guests contracted the disease at the party.

This means that half of the 79 coronavirus cases in Uruguay, with 3.5 million inhabitants, can be linked to just a single person. Hontou went to the wedding a few hours after arriving from Spain, also meeting with her 84-year-old mother, and attending a lunch with a group of people the next day.

The fashion designer said she didn’t consider unwise attending the wedding while recognizing she had symptoms of coronavirus before going back to Uruguay. “I couldn’t even talk, I had 41 degrees of fever,” she told the news website Infobae. “I brought the subject [coronavirus] up with the doctor but he paid no attention.”

Breaking the quarantine rules could have legal consequences for Hontou. She may face legal charges due to “spreading contagious diseases,” as per Uruguay’s penal code, as well as her sons – who visited her mother, despite the fact that she should have been in quarantine.

In a similar episode, an Argentine who had arrived in Uruguay from Europe decided to flee the hospital where he was in observation and take a ferry to Argentina. In the middle of the trip, he started showing symptoms, so the onboard doctor performed a test of coronavirus, which was positive.

Over 400 people were traveling with him on the ferry, all of which are now forced to stay in hotels in quarantine for two weeks in case they also have the disease. “I want to believe he honestly didn’t know he had the virus before taking the ferry. If that’s not true, humanity is lost,” a passenger told a local media outlet.

Argentina, which has already confirmed 128 cases, is also having difficulties convincing people to stay at home. Despite a full lockdown of the country for two weeks, with people not going to work, hundreds decided to take their cars to the beach and use the days off from work as vacations.

The government is performing inspections on foreigners who recently arrived in the country to control if they are fulfilling the mandatory two-week quarantine, having already expelled 270 people for not doing so. Local trains, buses, and flights were canceled to discourage people from traveling.

Latin American countries hope to avoid a steep rise in the number of cases, as seen now in Spain and Italy. But for that to happen it’s of key importance to stay at home as much as possible, especially in the case of people who returned from high-risk countries.

This kelp forest in Argentina remained almost unchanged for 45 years

Kelp is a type of brown algae that live in shallow waters close to the shore and grow in dense groups, like an underwater forest. They play a key role in the marine community as they help to protect a large number of plants and animals, providing them with food and shelter.

Credit Enric Sala/National Geographic

There’s a growing concern for the future of kelps, affected by global stressors like climate change and local stressors such as pollution, overfishing, and sedimentation. Nevertheless, there’s one area where kelp seems to remain unchanged despite the passing of time.

Alan Friedlander of the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project and colleagues visited the kelp forests in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, which hadn’t been assessed since 1973 due to their remote location. They discovered that the area hasn’t changed much since then.

“The kelp forest of the extreme tip of South America are some of the most pristine on earth and have not changed substantially since the early 1970s when they were first surveyed,” said Friedlander.

“Re-examination of this remote region is incredibly valuable in this age of climate change.”

The researchers worked with scuba divers to collect data, which revealed the kelp ecosystem in Tierra del Fuego hadn’t changed much. Populations of kelp and other animals such as sea urchins and sea stars were on the same level as in 1973. There were no urchin barrens detected.

At the same time, Friedlander and his team used satellite images, available since 1998, to analyze the kelp forest cover. No long-term trends were detected over the past 20 years. They also did a survey of fish and found the number variated according to the location and the level of exposure to ocean waves.

Credit Enric Sala/National Geographic

The fact that no major changes were seen on the kelp forests in Tierra del Fuego doesn’t mean they won’t be subject to any threats in the future, the researchers warned. The rising sea temperatures could alter them in the upcoming years, especially if no further climate action is achieved.

Argentina established the Yaganes Marine National Park in Tierra del Fuego in 2018, allowing only scientific research in the area. Friedlander and his team believe this could help to protect the kelp forests in the area from local and global stressors like climate change.

“This region is one of the last global refuges for kelp forest ecosystems and supports large populations of seabirds, marine mammals and has high biodiversity value,” the study reads. “There is an urgent need to protect this region for its biodiversity value and the ecosystem values it provides.”

The study was published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

Algeria and Argentina are now malaria-free

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. In 2017 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 435,000 people died, mostly children in the African Region.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week that Algeria and Argentina have achieved certification of malaria-free status, meaning both have interrupted local transmission for at least 3 consecutive years.

Algeria, where the disease was first discovered in humans in 1880 by the French physician Dr. Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, is only the second country in its African region to reach malaria-free status. The first was Mauritius, which was certified in 1973. Algeria reported its last indigenous malaria cases in 2013.

“Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science. The rest of the continent can learn from this experience,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa.

Argentina is the second country in the Americas region to be certified in 45 years after Paraguay in 2018. Argentina reported its last local malaria cases in 2010. Malaria elimination was made a goal in Argentina in the 1970s. Elimination was achieved by training health workers to spray homes with insecticides, diagnosing the disease through microscopy, and effectively responding to cases in the community.

The WHO grants malaria-free certification when a country has proven that the chain indigenous transmission has been interrupted for at least the previous 3 consecutive years. Countries should also show evidence that the surveillance systems in place can rapidly detect and respond to any malaria cases and have effective programs to prevent resurgences and re-establishment.

In a WHO statement, Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the two countries eliminated malaria due to the unwavering commitment and perseverance of their people and leaders. “Their success serves as a model for other countries working to end this disease once and for all.”

In recent years, 9 countries have been certified by the WHO Director-General as having eliminated malaria: United Arab Emirates (2007), Morocco (2010), Turkmenistan (2010), Armenia (2011), Maldives (2015), Sri Lanka (2016), Kyrgyzstan (2016), Paraguay (2018) and Uzbekistan (2018).