SAN ANTONIO – If you visit SeaWorld San Antonio and watch the trainers, you may feel like you are seeing double. That’s because the Fenton twins are not hard to miss.
Jakob works with the Orcas and Westin works with the Beluga whales and dolphins. For them, their passion and love of animals started at an early age.
“We started coming here ever since we were super young, when we were seven years old, our parents day brought us to SeaWorld’s camp and that’s where we fell in love with these animals, the relationships that they have with their trainers. And we knew from that day, that this is what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives,” Jakob Fenton said.
The twins do everything together. They even got hired on the same day, just minutes apart.
Now 21-years-old, the duo has formed an unbreakable bond with the animals they work with.
Westin spoke passionately about growing to love a special whale named Martha.
“She’s incredibly special to me because she was the first whale. When I was ten years old, I did the beluga interaction program that we offer for our guests, where they’re able to come face to face and meet one of these incredible animals. So I did that when I was ten-years-old. And now, being able to be face to face with her in a whole different way, it’s amazing.”
Jakob and Westin even play their violas for the animals and say they are very engaged in what is going on around them. They said it is a great form of enrichment. Now, the twins are focused on making a lasting impact.
“We learn so much about them. And I think it’s the ability to participate in research studies that really makes me excited. So, for example, we’ve conditioned these whales to make vocalizations whenever they hear a sound. And it was through that work, that we were able to impact legislation surrounding boat traffic. So these animals have direct impacts to wild populations of killer whales and that’s what motivates me to do this good work every single day, because I know we’re helping animals out in the ocean,” Jakob said.
Next up for Jakob and Westin is finishing their college education. They started out at the University of Texas at Austin, but did not want to leave SeaWorld San Antonio. Instead, they both transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where both will be graduating later this year, with degrees in Business Management.
And for those who want to follow in their foot steps as trainers, their message is simple: they encourage everyone to follow their heart, dream big and do what makes you happy.