In memory of Roger Payne

June 15, 2023
June 15, 2023

Roger may be best known for uncovering the features of whale songs, but in the process he also uncovered a fundamental truth about humans and our ability to amplify the magic of nature. His recordings, Songs of the Humpback Whale, sparked the “Save the Whales” movement, one of the most successful conservation initiatives in history, which saved several whale populations from extinction. To scientists and conservationists, Roger will be remembered not only for saving the whales, but for teaching humanity how to marvel at the wonders of the natural world, and hopefully save ourselves in the process. To us at CETI, we will remember him for all of these contributions and also as a cherished colleague, friend and mentor.

As a principal advisor to Project CETI, Roger spent the last year of his life advocating for the responsible use of technology to listen to and translate the vocalizations of whales. His life’s work was inspiring people to feel a sense of profound wonder and connectedness to whales and the ocean that is capable of inspiring urgent and widespread action. 

And - he lived his life in a state of perpetual wonder and awe, inspiring everyone whose lives he touched. Roger left us with a call to action and playbook to save all of Earth’s species, and he taught us that it all starts with listening. 

We’re so honored and thankful to have had Roger on our journey with us and we will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and hearts are with his family and loved ones.

With love,
David Gruber & the CETI Team