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Flagstaff Company Gets EPA Approval For Rat Birth Control

The federal government has approved a new, highly effective contraceptive – for rats. Production of it will soon be underway at SenesTech, a Flagstaff-based biotech company.

SenesTech is now able to market this rat birth control as pest control, since receiving regulatory approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Arizona Daily Sun reported the contraception is a sweet liquid bait that causes egg loss in female rats and impairs sperm development in males.

SenesTech CEO Loretta Mayer said females become sterilized for life if they drink the bait for long enough. The company has been working on the formula for more than a decade, and it’s attracted attention for a more humane, safe and environmentally-friendly alternative to traps and poisons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.