The bushfire crisis has resulted in such an impact on koala populations that the marsupial could soon be classified as "endangered" in parts of the country, the government says.
The federal government has committed $50 million to a wildlife recovery fund as the damage toll on the nation's flora and fauna from the recent bushfire crisis has started to be realised.
Images of burnt koalas in bandages have become the face of the bushfire crisis with images strewn across the world and on Monday the government indicated how significant the impact of the fires has been on koala populations.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the recent bushfire crisis might result in the koala being classified as "endangered".
"We have got a threatened species scientific committee that manages the listing of all endangered species," she said.
"I have spoke with the chair of the committee, Helene Marsh, and I have said given the extraordinary hit ... it may be necessary to bring forward the assessment that they would be doing in any case, to see whether in certain parts of the country, koalas move from where they are, which is often vulnerable, up to endangered."
It comes as the federal government announced on Monday it would give $50 million towards devastated wildlife.
The money will be split in half, with $25 million to go towards wildlife carers, hospitals and schools and the other $25 million will be provided for an emergency intervention fund.
Ms Ley made the announcement in Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on Monday morning along with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and threatened species commissioner Dr Sally Box.
Mr Frydenberg said the $50 million was an "initial contribution" to protecting wildlife and the money would go towards restoring habitat.
"Some eight million hectares have been burnt and we know that our native flora and fauna have been very badly damaged," he said.
The $25 million emergency intervention fund would fund an expert panel to be convened by Dr Box. Members from the Australian National University, University of Melbourne, the Australian governments Indigenous advisory committee and the CSIRO would be included in the panel.
"This expert panel will have a few roles. We will look at trying to assess the impacts of fires on our threatened species, our wildlife and plants and animals," Dr Box said.
"Mapping to try and understand where the fires have been and which species may have been in their path has already begun. We will look at the maps to further assess the impacts. We will prioritise the species, the places that we most need to focus our efforts and look at the type of actions that might need to be done."
The other $25 million would be divvied between various groups. Up to $7.5 million would support on-ground wildlife rescue and up to $7 million would go towards national resource management resource groups.
There is about $5 million allocated to Greening Australia and $2.5 million for Conservation Volunteers Australia.
Taronga Zoo, Zoos South Australia and Zoos Victoria will share in $3 million.
Dr Box said scientists had estimated about 30 per cent of koala habitat had been lost in northern NSW.
Environmental groups have welcomed the initial money but say much more will be needed as the magnitude of the devastation becomes clear.
Australian Conservation Foundation's James Trezise says species will need to be safeguarded for the future.
"That means protecting critical habitats, long term funding for recovery actions and stronger national environmental laws," he said.
The Wilderness Society says Australia's approach to looking after vulnerable species needs a complete overhaul to ensure they don't become extinct.
"For over 20 years, Australia's wildlife and iconic natural places have suffered a death by a thousand cuts under Australia's failed nature protection system, and these fires may have pushed many species over the brink," the society's Suzanne Milthorpe said.
The Greens say the $50 million is "petty cash" given the environmental catastrophe.
Last week, Australian mammal expert Professor Chris Dickman estimated more than a billion animals had been killed.
"One billion sounds like a very big number but it's almost certainly an underestimate because of the groups I don't include," the University of Sydney academic told AAP on Thursday.
Bats, frogs and invertebrates haven't been included in that estimate.
The worst-affected animals would be the "large and slow-moving ones" such as koalas but species with small populations are at risk of imminent extinction, he added.
"We're clearly at risk of losing a significant proportion of biodiversity and because much of Australian biodiversity occurs only here, it's a global loss," he said.
Dr Christine Hosking from the University of Queensland's Global Change Institute said one billion dead animals is a "very reasonable" estimate.
While many animals would have perished in the blazes, many more will die because of a lack of food and the charred, barren landscapes which leave small mammals vulnerable to predators, she said.
"The whole food chain is affected," Dr Hosking told AAP on Thursday.
"These forests will remain empty for quite a long time."
The koala expert believes it could take up to 100 or even 200 years for some forests to completely recover and the ecology will not only be degraded, but changed completely.
"We've got threatened species that may go extinct after this as well," she said.
- with AAP