With resources stretched to near breaking point, forest rangers and the tigers they are trying to protect are coming under threat from well-armed poachers.
Yoo-ae, 18, could not decide whether or not to leave the cemetery. The Karen girl's mother and friends were urging her to go, but she replied, ''No, I want to stay a little longer,'' her eyes filling with tears.
Yoo-ae was pregnant and due to give birth at the end of this month.
Outside the cemetery hall was the body of her husband, Anthong Ngamying, 22, undergoing cremation following a Buddhist funeral ceremony.
Yoo-ae kept staring at his remains and sobbing. ''I don't know what to do with my life now,'' she said softly after regaining her composure.
A few weeks earlier, Yoo-ae was in a happy mood when she and her young husband received the good news from a doctor in Umphang that their baby would be delivered on Sept 30.
But on the night of Sept 12, forest ranger Anthong died after two bullets from an AK-47 tore through his chest during a clash with a gang of tiger poachers in Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Myanmar border in Tak province.
POACHERS' NEW PREY
This was not the first violent clash with tiger poachers. Over the past few years, tiger poaching has become more common in the 18,000 square kilometre Western Forest Complex (Wefcom), and four forest rangers have been killed, and six injured by poachers.
The area is home to 11 national parks and six wildlife sanctuaries, including Thailand's first Natural World Heritage site, the 6,400 sq km Thung Yai-Naresuan and Huay Kha Kheng sanctuaries that form the heart of the Wefcom. More....