Unit of competency details

ACMGAS302A - Provide enrichment for animals (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMGAS302 - Provide enrichment for animalsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 28/Nov/2017
Supersedes and is equivalent to RUV3304A - Provide behavioural enrichment for research animalsNew unit replacing and equivalent to each of the industry sector units 10/Nov/2010
Supersedes and is equivalent to RUV3414A - Identify behavioural needs and implement improved husbandryNew unit replacing and equivalent to each of the industry sector units 10/Nov/2010
Supersedes and is equivalent to RUV3505A - Provide enrichment for companion animalsNew unit replacing and equivalent to each of the industry sector units 10/Nov/2010

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 11/Nov/2010

Qualifications that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  11/Nov/2010 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency covers the process of providing behavioural management and enrichment to stimulate, replenish and maintain appropriate behavioural patterns of animals.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

The unit is applicable to those working in the animal care industry where it may be necessary to provide enrichment activities for animals in various animal care sectors. These animals may be being kept long term in the workplace or being raised or prepared for sale, rehousing or release to their native habitat.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all units of competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Observe and record animal behaviour

1.1. Behaviour  of individual animals  and groups of animals is observed and recorded in accordance with organisation policies and procedures.

1.2. Observed behaviour is compared with known normal behavioural patterns for a range of species.

1.3. Strategies to encourage natural behaviour  are identified and implemented.

1.4. Signs of stress  are recognised, recorded and possible stressors are determined.

1.5. Abnormal behaviour  indicating less than optimum physical and behavioural wellbeing is reported to supervisor.

2. Assist with managing undesirable animal behaviour 

2.1. Participation in the development and implementation of a long-term strategy to manage undesirable behaviour is undertaken.

2.2. Short-term management of animals exhibiting undesirable behaviour is conducted.

2.3. Animal welfare and occupational health and safety  (OHS ) requirements  are complied with during behavioural management processes.

3. Implement enrichment programs 

3.1. Physical, social and food-related enrichment strategies appropriate to the species are determined, applied and evaluated in accordance with organisation policies and procedures.

3.2. Adverse consequences  to an enrichment strategy are researched and assessed.

3.3. Used enrichment items are cleaned, decontaminated, disposed of or replaced according to organisation policies and procedures.

3.4. Responses to implementation of enrichment strategy are documented and reported.

3.5. Enrichment program modification suggestions  are reviewed in consultation with supervisor, implemented, where appropriate, and documented.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • complete relevant work-related documents
  • employ safe and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when handling and working with animals and feed
  • evaluate behaviour, signs, symptoms and objective measures that may indicate animal health is at risk
  • identify common indicators of the presence of disease,injury, compromised health or distress in animals
  • maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection
  • observe animals, documentand report behaviour and feeding patterns
  • literacy skills to read and follow organisational policies and procedures, including OHS and animal welfare; follow sequenced written instructions; and record information accurately and legibly
  • oral communication skills/language to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification and seeking advice from supervisor
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • interpersonal skills to work with others and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities
  • problem-solving skills to assess appropriate strategies and prioritise daily tasks
  • use personal protective clothing and equipment correctly
  • use safe manual handling techniques and/or equipment
  • use safe waste handling and disposal procedures.

Required knowledge 

  • anatomical and physiological terminology and glossary of terms
  • anatomical and physiological structures and functions related to animal health and wellbeing and enrichment strategies
  • common diseases, ailments, injuries and other impacts on animal health and wellbeing
  • communication procedures and systems, and technology relevant to the organisation and the individual's work responsibilities
  • housing, exercise, social and activity needs of animals
  • methods of rectifying and modifying animal behaviour patterns
  • milestones in developmental progress from new born to mature animals
  • natural animal behaviour relating to the characteristics of the species, age, health status and social needs
  • organisational policies and procedures, including OHS and emergency procedures
  • physical, social and food-related enrichment activities
  • principles of animal welfare and ethics
  • relevant OHS and animal welfare legislative requirements and codes of practice
  • safe animal handling techniques
  • terminology used to describe and document health and behavioural signs and symptoms
  • workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • observe, record and report normal and abnormal behaviour patterns and conditions, including signs of stress for a range of animals
  • assist others in the selection of accommodation appropriate to animals' behavioural needs and the requirements of the facility
  • assist others in the development of long-term behavioural management strategies
  • conductshort-term behavioural management and enrichment programs
  • comply with animal welfare and OHS requirements and organisational policies and procedures
  • maintain accurate records.

The skills and knowledge required to provide enrichment for animals must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of this unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in an animal care industry sector workplace in which candidates are working or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions. Workplaces can include pet shops, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training, grooming establishments, animal shelters, zoos, wildlife parks, mobile animal facilities and animal technology facilities.

There must be access in either situation to a range of animals as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.Assessment must be relevant to the industry sector in which candidates are working andmust cover a minimum of one species from at least two of the six major animal groups OR at least three breeds from within one of the six major animal groups (mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates).

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency in one's performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances and over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • workplace documentation
  • portfolio.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Behaviour  of animals may include:

  • animal activities and responses based on:
  • species, breed, age and sex of the animal
  • the time of the day or night
  • the breeding season
  • normal behaviour in various contexts:
  • breeding
  • eliminative
  • grooming
  • ingestive
  • resting
  • social
  • abnormal behaviour:
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • compulsive disorders
  • facility and equipment destruction
  • fearfulness
  • self-mutilation.

Animals  may include:

  • animals commonly encountered within the industry workplace and may cover both native and introduced species
  • animals from the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates).

Strategies to encourage natural behaviour  may include:

  • activities and equipment:
  • to encourage foraging or hunting for food appropriate for species
  • to provide exercise and physical fitness and dexterity relevant to animal species
  • to provide opportunities to live and socialise in an environment appropriate for particular species
  • to rest, hide or shelter in appropriate housing
  • to reinforce the role of owner or handler in an appropriate context for the nominated species.

Signs of stress  may include:

  • aggressive behaviour
  • destruction of equipment or habitat
  • inappetence
  • over-stimulation of animal
  • repetitive actions
  • self mutilation
  • subdued behaviour
  • trembling
  • vocalisation.

Abnormal behaviour  may include:

  • exaggerated forms of a normal behaviour:
  • non-stop barking
  • constant digging
  • repetitive patterns or action:
  • pacing in straight line or figure eight patterns
  • restlessness
  • stationary, non-purposeful movements:
  • head tossing
  • swaying
  • self-mutilation.

Managing undesirable animal behaviour  may include:

  • consulting behaviour specialists for:
  • behaviour modification of animal
  • training for owner or handler
  • food or food-related enrichment may be provided by:
  • giving animals opportunities to hunt or forage for food by hiding it in substrates
  • giving the animal food that requires processing (e.g. peeling or shelling fruit or seeds)
  • gnawing manipulada
  • providing equipment to encourage appropriate exercise:
  • access to larger areas for free exercise or lead walking
  • climbing poles and scratching posts
  • ladders, ropes and treadmills
  • providing equipment and toys for skill development and time occupiers:
  • non-edible items that can be easily added or removed from the environment, such as toys (e.g. balls, bells, toys, puzzles and mirrors)
  • providing species appropriate housing and bedding:
  • hide boxes, tunnels and ladders
  • nest building or bedding material:
  • shredded paper
  • straw
  • substrate
  • wood shavings
  • perches, roosting shelves and nest boxes
  • social enrichment:
  • levels of contact with other animals of the same species or breed
  • social interactions between the animal and the carer may also be appropriate.

Animal welfare and OHS requirements  may include:

  • animal welfare requirements:
  • compliance to appropriate state or territory legislation and regulations
  • keeping health and behaviour records
  • providing adequate housing and stock levels
  • providing appropriate enrichment opportunities
  • the absence of pests and vermin
  • the compatibility of species and breeds
  • OHS requirements:
  • use of relevant personal protective equipment, such as animal handling gauntlets and eye wear
  • hazard identification, risk minimisation and workplace procedures for:
  • animal bites, kicks, scratches, crush injuries
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • gas leakage
  • handling, use, storage, transport and disposal of chemicals and medicines
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • manual handling, including carrying, lifting and shifting
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • to control the release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • transmission of zoonotic diseases.

Adverse consequences  to enrichment strategies may include:

  • destruction of habitat
  • fighting between animals over access to enrichment items or activities leading to potential for injuries
  • impact on security of animals, staff and public of enrichment activity
  • life of enrichment item or activity compared to cost
  • over-stimulation of animal
  • refusal of animal to utilise enrichment items
  • self-mutilation or other signs of stress.

Suggestions  for program modification may include:

  • changing diet
  • changing group dynamics by adding or removing other animals
  • consultation with behavioural specialist
  • consultation with veterinarian on the use of chemical therapy to assist animal's ability to deal with stressful situation
  • further education of owner or handler:
  • to control their own responses to animal behaviour
  • to identify triggers in animal behaviour
  • to provide more effective leadership
  • increasing or decreasing amount and timing of stimulation offered to animal
  • providing different forms of enrichment
  • re-locate animal to more suitable environment.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

General animal studies

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units