"We have respect for elephants."
Translation:Nous respectons les éléphants.
When referring to something in general, you'd use the definite article, les.
Not quite. Use a definite article with verbs expressing preference like aimer, détester, adorer, etc.
Respecter isn't a verb of preference, but here you are referring to elephants in general rather than some specific elephants. When talking about a category of things in general, use "les" in French, but do not translate it in English.