Badger (Meles meles) as a model species for the development of ecological and behavioural research [Jezevec lesní (Meles meles) jako modelový druh pro rozvoj ekologického a behaviorálního výzkumu]
Dominic D. P. Johnson, Pavel Stopka
Pilot studies of Kruuk (1989) in the UK revealed that amongst Mustelidae badgers are unusual as they form large groups sharing a communal site. Although there is a profusion of studies on badgers from the UK, there is genuine lack of supporting evidence that they are particularly social elsewhere in Europe, and densities are extremely variable. Such great geographic variation in behaviour provides an excellent opportunity to progress in testing models of social behaviour and cooperation in mammals. This area of research is also important because in Britain badgers have been linked to the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Whether this is likely to be a problem elsewhere in Europe largely depends on understanding the ecology and behaviour of badgers and their interactions with other mammalian species. The aim of this paper is to highlight the recent developments in the study of the social biology of this species, with a view to encouraging more research in Europe.