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Cheetah Who Received Kidney Transplant Dies

November 27, 1986

WINSTON, Ore. (AP) _ Khayam, a 10-year-old cheetah from Wildlife Safari, died four days after undergoing a kidney transplant at a human hospital.

″She put up a brave fight, but just couldn’t make it,″ said Frank Hart, director of the drive-through wild animal preserve in Southern Oregon.

Khayam died Wednesday from complications from the Saturday surgery, including respiratory problems and kidney failure, said Scott Hendy, a Roseburg veterinarian who assisted Dr. John Barry’s transplant team.

Barry, director of the kidney transplant program and a professor of surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, headed the team that gave Khayam a kidney from Blondie, another cheetah at the park.

The operation was performed at Douglas Community Hospital in Roseburg.

Khayam, who had suffered from severe kidney problems since February, died at the home of Laurie Marker, Wildlife Safari’s marketing director, who had raised Khayam from a cub.

Ms. Marker and Khayam often traveled together, appearing on ″The Tonight Show″ and the ″Today″ show.

″She was my kid, she was a good girl,″ Ms. Marker said. ″It was touch and go. We gave her the best chance we could. She represented the story of the cheetah worldwide and there’s still a lot to do (to prevent extinction). I won’t quit.″

A Khayam Memorial Fund will be established to support research and other work to save endangered species, Hart said.

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