Bengaluru, Oct 8: A 38-year-old elephant, released into the forest nearly two years after being captured, died within hours of being hit by a private bus at Mattigod in Kodagu district early Monday, a forest department official said.

The police said they had seized the private bus involved in the accident that occurred near the hilly Madikeri area.

"The elephant, 'Rowdy' Ranga, met with an accident in the morning and passed away subsequently. We have asked the jurisdictional police to book a case against the driver," Karnataka Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (head of the Forest Force) Punati Sridhar told.

Tragically, Ranga, caught in 2016 and sheltered at the Mattigod elephant camp, was released into the forest only on Sunday and met with the fatal accident within hours.

The elephant had earned the nickname of "rowdy" as it had trampled to death a few people and was caught near here in December, 2016 by a forest team.

The accident again brought to the focus the demand of wildlife enthusiasts for a ban on vehicular traffic in forest areas at night.

"It is a sad news. There should have been speedbreakers on the elephant corridors as a short-term measure, whereas the long-term step should be to ban vehicular movement in the forest areas at night," wildlife enthusiast D Rajkumar said.

However, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) C Jayaram said the accident took place in spite of the presence of speedbreakers in the area.

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