The reclusive pangolin has become the most trafficked mammal on earth due to soaring demand in China.
Shipments of protected African species including tortoises, pythons and parrots to Asia have soared since 2006 as demand grows.
For China, the project to stop Lake Chad from drying up is an opportunity to deepen its already strong ties with Africa.
China's Lunar New Year television extravaganza was hit by accusations of racism over a sketch in which a Chinese actress appeared made up as an African woman.
The tourism industry's big challenge is to prove the country is safe.
From Delta state on Nigeria's southern coast, hides are shipped to China where they are stewed to render the coveted gelatin.