Until 2006, the tokoeka in Fiordland were thought to be the same as those found on Rakiura (Stewart Island), but genetics research has changed this.
The Fiordland birds are intermediate in size, between the larger Rakiura (Stewart Island) and smaller Haast tokoeka.
There is no direct management of the Fiordland tokoeka but efforts to eradicate pests from Resolution and Secretary Islands has successfully created safe havens, and there has been extensive stoat trapping in the Murchison Mountains, near Te Anau. The trapping was primarily to protect takahe, but also protects tokoeka and other forest birds. To some extent, their recovery is still in the research phase – that means some important information about whether populations are declining and what may be causing the drop in numbers is not yet available. It is estimated that, in 2015, nearly 9% of the Fiordland tokoeka population was under active management.
While a full survey has not yet been done, the population of Fiordland tokoeka is estimated at 12,500.
Fiordland tokoeka are considered to be ‘threatened (nationally vulnerable)’ by the Department of Conservation. It is predicted that, under current management, the population will decline by 1.0% over the coming 15 years.
The habitat of Fiordland tokoeka stretches from the mountains to the sea. They can be found high up in the mountains of their South Island home, burrowing into the snow in winter.